County approves Verizon tower

Published 11:15 am Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Like the planning commission before it, the Southampton County Board of Supervisors at Monday evening’s meeting unanimously approved a conditional use permit for Verizon Wireless to install a 199-foot monopole tower at the intersection of Plank Road (Route 35) and Wakefield Road (State Route 628). There is no timetable for when construction would begin, though the conditional use permit requires that action must be taken within 12 months.

“I think this enhances the communication expansion in this particular dead area,” Vice Chairman Ronald West said. “It sounds good to me.”

The tower would enhance Verizon’s coverage area around Sebrell, as the village only gets “marginal coverage” — according to the wireless company — from the tower in Courtland.

“In this rural area, we’ve identified this particular location as one that’s critical as part of our network,” Verizon Wireless attorney Steve Bromine said.

It will also allow room for future collocation of at least five additional wireless carriers on the same site.

“This request was thoroughly discussed by the planning commission for well over an hour,” Deputy Director of Community Development Beth Lewis said. “Most of the discussion did not deal with this request. It was about cell coverage and people offering the front yards for cell towers.”

Because the structure is under 200 feet tall, it is not required to have a light on top.

“It can serve our purpose at 199 feet, and not having to light it makes it less intrusive to neighbors,” Bromine said.

Next month, the planning commission will hear a request for a conditional use permit for a monopole on Johnson’s Mill Road near Sedley.

“The coverage areas are converging on each other, and it looks like the central northern part of the county will have much more suitable service,” Lewis said.