Fluvanna to Build Two 350 Foot Towers

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead to get into the tower business.The supervisors want staff to continue with plans to build two 350-foot towers for the new emergency radio project. The towers will help improve radio coverage and wouldn’t require leasing as many towers as the original plan.
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The county could also rent out space on the tower to recoup costs of the tower. It is estimated the county will spend $275,000 per tower to build plus land acquisition.
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One odd item is the county restricts telecommunication towers to less than 200 feet. In the agenda the staff report states, “with construction of new 350 feet towers and continuing to restrict commercial towers to under 200 feet, carriers will be drawn to the taller towers (with better coverage options) for co-leasing instead of applying to build their own. This option more likely ‘guarantees’ additional revenue for the county.”
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Supervisors tried to downplay this aspect because the towers are needed for public safety first and foremost. Supervisors took estimated ten year operational costs and when removing any rental income projected, building the two towers was still one of the better options. Over the life of the towers (estimated at 40 years), it would be even better.
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The problem with leasing commercial towers is the county would need so much space on a 195 feet tower that the county would sometimes lease an entire tower. It would completely shut out the market to being on those towers.  The 350 feet towers would give plenty of room for the emergency radio services and still leave room higher than 200 feet for commercial telecommunication providers.
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[Clarification 2/19 9:23 am The supervisors only gave a direction to staff to continue researching this option. Final approval will be necessary to build the towers, one near Lake Monticello and one on the old landfill.-NW]
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Also at the Feb. 17 meeting the supervisors approved a special use permit to allow a preschool at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. The permit is for a year round school of 150 students between ages 2 and 6 years old.
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OBrien2014-photo-credit-Fluvanna-County.jpg

Fluvanna Supervisor Tony O’Brien

“I think it’ll be a great addition,” said Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) after no one spoke at the public hearing.

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Supervisors also approved a zoning change for property on Lake Monticello Road. Fluvanna Self Storage will develop the land in two phases for a remote storage facility and a third phase for commercial development along the road.
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Currently Fluvanna Self Storage is located over a mile down the road and has outgrown its space. Phase one in the new property is about 70 percent of the original facility.  “It is very similar in nature to our other facility,” said Carlos Burns, the applicant. He said the buildings will look the same but will be more earth toned.
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Burns estimates the first phase might take 15 to 20 years to develop. FSS has been in operation for 23 years.
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The new remote site backs into Lake Monticello housing. One amazing aspect is residents closest to the property have commended Burns for his work on minimizing impact of the development.  Even those that spoke against it weren’t passionately against it. The owner closest to the new facility, Steve Carney, said he hopes Burns continues to operate in good faith to minimize impact.
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“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone work together better than on this project,” Patricia Eager (Palmyra District) said about the communication between the applicant and nearby property owners.
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The next supervisors’ session will be on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. for a work session with the School Board. Supervisors will then meet at 7 p.m. for the formal presentation of the School Board budget.

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bryan-rothamelThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

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