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Mebane city council to consider rezoning for cell tower near I-85/40

Mebane’s city council will consider whether to rezone for a 185-foot high cell tower just off I-85/40 near Trollingwood-Hawfields Road at its Monday night meeting next week.

The tower itself is 175 feet tall, with a 10-foot lightning rod on top. Based on where it is situated, it does not require any red, or other warning, light on top, planning board members were told.

The planning board considered the project and voted unanimously last month to recommend the rezoning to the city council for approval.

AT&T is the primary user intended for the new tower (in order to provide 5G service), which would have room for five additional carriers, according to statements made at the June 13 planning board meeting.

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The lot for the cell tower – also referred to as a monopole – would be carved out for a little more than an acre (100 feet by 100 feet) near the interstate on the back portion of a 25-acre property owned by John Williams.

Above is the site plan, showing its location relative to major highways – I-85/40 to the north and Trollingwood-Hawfields Road to the west. Below is a more detailed drawing of the portion of the acreage that would have the cell tower.

Supporters of the tower explained that its structure will be such that in the event of a “catastrophic failure” – conceivable, it was noted, in the event of a heavy ice or heavy sustained winds – the tower is designed to collapse on itself.

In particular, although it will be about 50 feet from the DOT right-of-way beside the interstate highway, the tower would begin a dominos-like collapse of its hinged structure, keeping any debris from collapse within the 10,000 square foot fenced area, neither obstructing the interstate nor other nearby properties.

Opposition to the idea was voiced by Harry Isley of Asheboro, who acknowledged that he had attempted to persuade the cell tower developer to consider using another parcel of land, spanning about four acres, that he and his brother own across the interstate from the one selected.

Harry Isley

Isley also raised the issue of whether visitors to either of two adjacent hotels that are planned and already approved for the site next to the proposed cell tower would want to look out their window and see a cell tower which he described as towering over the multi-story hotels.

“It’s not a good place for it,” Isley said.

However, Patty Dischinger, the daughter of the elderly Williams couple who own the land that would be used by the cell tower company, responded, “This is not the Greenbrier,” referring to a prestigious West Virginia resort and hotel.

Patty Dischinger

She described the small portion of the property being offered to the cell tower developer as “unusable land for us.”

The planning board voted 5-0 in favor of the rezoning for the cell tower.

Voting in favor were planning board members Judy Taylor (who chaired the meeting in the absence of chairman Edward Tulauskas), Susan Semonite, William Chapman, Keith Hoover, and Larry Teague.

The cell tower issue will be on the city council’s meeting agenda for Monday night at 6:00.

Also on Monday night’s council agenda are three additional public hearings carried over with positive recommendations from the planning board: two townhouse subdivisions on North First Street and a rezoning request from the Summit Church which wants to build a church on approximately 21 acres at the corner of Mebane Oaks and Old Hillsborough roads, beside one of the city’s fire stations.

Read coverage of other planning and zoning issues that will be on the city council’s agenda for Monday night (July 11).

Planning board recommends two townhouse projects along North First Street, one with 42 townhouses, the other with 150:

Summit Church gets ok from planning board for church construction at corner of Mebane Oaks and Old Hillsborough Roads:

What to do about chickens in Mebane:

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