PALMYRA — The proposed cell phone tower in Kidds Store has been deferred to allow the tower company to negotiate with the Fluvanna School Board.
The tower in question was proposed by Clear Signal Tower, LLC and sent before the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 19. The board never had the public hearing, deferring action before the hearing occurred.
Andrew Pompei, a county planner, reported to the board CST contacted county administration on Dec. 19 to request the deferral. Pompei relayed CST is exploring building the tower in question on the Cunningham Elementary School property instead of the location the public hearing was for.
The county’s hired communication consultant, CityScape, reviewed the tower location as less suitable than building the tower at the school. Fluvanna County Public Schools currently operates a 110-foot pole on the school property for district connectivity.
Theoretically, part of the CST negotiations with the school system would be to take down the current pole and construct a new pole. If the tower is less than 200 feet (over 200 feet requires a light), the top areas of the pole could be used for six sets of cellular antennas. Then the district could have space on the 110-feet mark.
This is not an unusual possible arrangement in the county. The county rents space for a tower next to the Palmyra Fire Station to US Cellular. The tower generates $21,600 worth of rent a year and will increase by three precent each year for seven years.
The county has space inside US Cellular’s equipment shelter to house county communication equipment. The lease was recently extended at the Nov. 20 meeting.
Another wrinkle to this debate is if Cunningham Elementary School will even be in operation next year. The School Board will discuss closing the school and it was a chief part of the Nov. 20 compromise to fund the schools an additional $300,000 this current fiscal year.
CST has a lease with AT&T to put antennas on the Kidds Store area tower.
Any tower, whether it be the originally proposed one or a new one at Cunningham Elementary School will need to have a public hearing with the Board of Supervisors.