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Commissioners rezone land in Aquadale for new cell tower

Residents in the South Stanly area may eventually see increased cell phone service after a zoning change approved at Tuesday’s meeting of the Stanly County Board of Commissioners.

The board unanimously approved a telecommunications tower overlay district be established to land on the northeast side of Little Street in Aquadale.

Owned by Paul Poplin, the portion of the land parcel will house a 195-foot monopole cell tower. The documentation stated the land was used as a baseball field.

Cellco Partnership, the company requesting the zoning change, will own the tower which will sit in the woods east of the field. Verizon will be the initial carrier on the tower, but space will be available for lease by other carriers. The site will be accessed on the ground by a new easement on Little Road.

Michael Berkowitz from Cellco said the company is trying to do a 3-D jigsaw puzzle with cell coverage.

A graphic presented to the commissioners showed the tower’s placement in an area lacking coverage.

Berkowitz said the graphic showed “this is a dead area with very little (cell) coverage.”

Being near a school is important, he added, referencing previous studies he did for Matthews and Statesville on how having coverage helps in terms of safety concerns.

When asked by Commissioner Mike Barbee about making the tower look more like a tree, Berkowitz said he has found it makes more of a visual footprint when doing so.

Chairman Matthew Swain asked if the tower would be leased out, saying the area is one of the worst for broadband internet access.

“They are not putting up cheap equipment,” Berkowitz said.

A public hearing was conducted with no one speaking during it except Berkowitz.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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