Request made, proposed use, location

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Verizon Wireless, by Thomas Michael Quinn

Special Exception

Staff Report

June 21, 2007


Verizon Wireless, by Thomas Michael Quinn

Special Exception

Staff Report

June 21, 2007


Petitioner, with consent of owner James and Martha Anderson, is requesting a special exception to allow co-location on an existing cell tower in the AW zone. Verizon would be the fourth carrier to locate on this tower that was originally built in 2004. The site is located about ½ mile west of Romney on the north side of SR 28 West and is commonly known as 600 SR 28 West, Randolph18 (SE) 21-4.


The site in question and land to the north and east is zoned AW, Agricultural Wooded. Land to the west across the railroad tracks is zoned AA, Select Agricultural. In January of this year, the County Commissioners rezoned 3.3 acres southwest of the tower along the railroad tracks from AA to I3, Industrial, for the Westland LLC.

The ABZA heard and approved the original request for this tower back in 2004 (BZA-1675). That request was approved with a total of four carriers. This request is needed because Verizon, the fourth carrier, has a shelter that is larger (30’ x 11.5’) than the shelters approved on the original site plan (20’ x 11.5’).

The tower sits alongside the railroad tracks in an 80’ x 80’ easement inside a 103 acre tract that is currently planted in corn. Further to the east are a cemetery and the Kellerman-Leaming Ditch. Single-family homes are located on the south side of SR 28 and further east near Romney. Land to the north and west is farmed.


The site has access via a 20’ wide easement to SR 28, which is classified as a rural secondary arterial. According to the petition, “the facility is operated remotely to test the emergency generator on a monthly basis, on site vehicles and employees would be limited to repairs and periodic routine maintenance 1 to 3 times a year”.


No well or septic are required for this use.


Verizon plans on constructing a 30’ x 11’6” equipment shelter. According to petitioner, a shelter of this size is needed because the emergency generator is located inside, whereas most carriers have their generators located outside the shelter. The original site plan approved in 2004 indicated that the future shelters would be located on concrete pads measuring 20’ x 11.5’. If the original site plan had not shown the exact dimensions of future carriers’ shelters, this request would not have been needed.

The ordinance requires self-supporting towers to be setback from all lot lines at least 20% of the tower’s height. With a 265’ tower, a setback of 53’ is required. The site plan indicates the tower sits more than 200’ from SR 28 and 55’ from the western property line, thus meeting the required setbacks. The required 6’ tall security fence with two secured gates surrounds the compound area; lighting, per FAA requirements, has been installed.
At its meeting on June 5th 2007 meeting, the Executive Committee of the Area Plan Commission voted that granting this request would not substantially adversely affect the Comprehensive Plan.
Regarding the ballot items:

  1. Section 3.1 of the Unified Zoning Ordinance DOES authorize the special exception for this use in the AW zoning district.

And it is staff’s opinion that:

  1. The requirements and development standards for the requested use as prescribed by the Unified Zoning Ordinance WILL be met. All required setbacks, fencing and lighting requirements are met.

  2. Granting the special exception WILL NOT subvert the general purposes served by the Ordinance because the location of this tower along the railroad tracks is not in the immediate vicinity of any homes. Additionally, this tower has existed in this location since autumn 2004.

  3. Granting the special exception WILL NOT materially and permanently injure other property or uses in the same district and vicinity because of:

  1. Traffic generation: According to the petition, the emergency generator is remotely tested and equipment maintenance vehicles/employees would visit the tower 1 to 3 times a year for repairs and routine maintenance;

  2. Placement of outdoor lighting: A 100-watt light bulb will be installed at the entrance of the equipment shelter. This lighting is consistent with lighting in rural areas;

  3. Noise production: Noise is limited to the testing and use of the emergency generator which is housed inside the shelter;

  4. Hours of operation: 24 hours a day/7days a week are the normal hours of operation for this type of use.



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