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Verizon looks for more time to build towers in area

By Jamie C. Ruff

Verizon Wireless is requesting additional time to use conditional use permits to construct two towers that the company was given permission to build nearly two years ago.

Verizon is asking for extensions for the proposed 295-foot tower on Mill Pond Road in Dundas and the proposed 310-foot tower on Rocky Mill Road in Victoria. Conditional use permits for the two projects were approved on Nov. 14, 2013. The Lunenburg supervisors will hold a public hearing on the extension requests on Thursday, Oct. 8, as part of their regularly scheduled 6 p.m. board meeting.

“There was no way they were going to get it finished in the time of the conditional use permit,” said Beverley Hawthorne, the county’s economic development director. “It is a concern but if all of a sudden they didn’t have a conditional use permit it would take at least three years to get another one.”

The county is prepared to put conditions on the extension, Hawthorne said.

Should the supervisors grant the extensions, the wording on the documents are expected to carry conditions requiring that work begin on the towers before the end of the year or the conditional use permits will be pulled, Hawthorne said. The county would also require the Victoria tower be completed by April 30, 2016 and that the Mill Pond tower be completed by June 30, 2016, she said.

The good thing, Hawthorne said, is that all of the building permits are in place so construction can start as soon as Verizon hires a contractor. The company has said it hopes to have a contractor by the end of this month, Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne noted that some residents have complained about the delay, arguing that the towers should have been built as soon as the conditional use permits were initially issued. Opponents point to another tower in the county’s Rohoboth community that has been constructed, but not equipped, she said.

However, she said, Lunenburg, like many rural areas, faces the problem of needing and wanting cell towers and the service they provide, but having smaller populations that means there are not enough potential customers to pay for the projects as far as providers are concerned.

“We hope it’s not going to be a big deal because we don’t want to wait another three years for somebody to come in and build a tower,” she said.