Lexington County staying with limits on cell towers near homes

tflach@thestate.comFebruary 11, 2014 

Green Cellular Phone Tower that looks like a pine tree

cellular phone tower antenna that looks like a pine tree

DAVID SUCSY — istockphoto.com

— Lexington County leaders are sticking with controls that largely keep wireless communication towers from rising in and near neighborhoods.

County Council members decided Tuesday to maintain the limits after planning director Charlie Compton said industry disguises for towers and antennae aren’t good enough.

The restrictions give council members veto power over putting towers for cellphones, pagers and similar devices near homes.

Towers that look like artificial trees or large flagpoles don’t appeal to county leaders.

But designs probably will be developed that could allow towers near neighborhoods some day, Compton predicted.

“Technology eventually will help,” he said. “They won’t be able to situate these in suburban areas for now, but it will come.”

For now, placing a tower near homes is a last resort that will be allowed rarely, council members say.

“We need them – they’re essential – but not in neighborhoods,” council chairman Johnny Jeffcoat of Irmo said.

County guidelines encourage towers in commercial areas. That’s where most of the roughly 130 towers in the 720-square-mile county are located.

The proposal also limits the height of towers around Columbia Metropolitan Airport, particularly in areas where runways could be extended.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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