Permit approved for Verizon tower

Published 5:52 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors and the county planning commission have both approved a request by Verizon Wireless to construct a 295-foot-tall communications tower in Dundas.

The vote followed a joint public hearing Thursday by the two bodies and revives the on-again, off-again project.

Supervisor Alvester Edmonds noted, “We’ve been through this,” but “the important thing is it’s moving.”

The tower will be located at 1315 Mill Pond Road on property owned by E.C. Foster Jr.

It was in January that the supervisors withdrew the conditional use permit for the project after the county received notice from Verizon representative Drew Patterson that the company was not moving forward on constructing the tower at the time.

That was after Verizon Wireless had requested additional time in October to use conditional use permits to construct two towers that the company was given permission to build nearly two years ago.

Verizon asked for extensions for the Mill Pond Road tower in Dundas and the proposed 310-foot tower on Rocky Mill Road in Victoria.

The extensions were granted, but the county requested that the Victoria tower be completed by April 30, and that the Mill Pond tower be completed by June 30, she said.

The Victoria tower was completed. But not the Mill Pond tower.

But now, it’s back after Verizon Wireless approached the county on July 1.

“The goal is to complete the project,” a company spokesman told the supervisors and planning commission last week.

He explained the reason the project had been dropped was “budgetary,” but this time the company is preparing to put it out to bid and has regulatory deadlines it hopes to meet.

The new conditional use permit calls for the tower to be constructed and operational no later than July 1, 2017.

Rodney Newton, Victoria interim town manager and chief of the town’s fire and rescue department, said the conditional use permit calls for space on the tower for public safety and emergency services equipment at no cost to the county. The county will pay for the equipment to be installed.

The project is one that the county has long wanted, and, after it stalled earlier this year, officials started looking for grant money to erect a tower where emergency services communication equipment could be mounted.

The community sees the region as a vital link in the emergency services communication network, and, Newton said, once the tower is built and equipped, “It’s going to fill the last major void that we have in the county.”

As the discussion concluded, Supervisor Frank Bacon voiced his frustration and optimism, noting “maybe we’ll get a dog that will hunt this time.”