LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC — Lexington County may relax its controls keeping wireless communications towers out of neighborhoods.
A new approach suggested by industry officials could soften County Council’s determination to stop towers for cellphones, pagers and similar services from popping up near homes.
The change would allow small antennas used for those services to be attached to utility poles or enclosed in low-level shelters in residential areas.
“Some of this has possibilities,” county planning director Charlie Compton said. “The providers are not trying to get out of being regulated, just offering different rules.”
The plan is better than disguising towers as artificial trees or large flag poles, some council members said, which has been done in some places in Richland County.
Those designs are “pitiful taste,” Councilwoman Debbie Summers of Springdale said.
Council members have final say over placing towers near homes, with several members calling that a last resort that’s rarely allowed.
The changes suggested could be acceptable as long as towers don’t loom over homes, Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat of Irmo said.
“The industry is going the right way,” he said. “Nobody likes an ugly tower out their window.”
County guidelines encourage putting towers in commercial areas.
But that’s not always practical, particularly in outlying rural areas, Compton said.
“We’ve certainly got underserved neighborhoods,” he said.
The industry is trying to be a better neighbor, Compton said.
“Technology is allowing them (towers) to blend in better,” he said.
Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.