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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: 150' Tall Cell Tower Really Needed In Carolina Beach?

Editorial: 150' Tall Cell Tower Really Needed In Carolina Beach?

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council is scheduled to hear an amendment to the Town code regarding cell towers at their July 10, meeting. (See page 1-A)
An application was submitted in June to the Town's Planning Department for a 150' tall cell tower off Dow Road.
The question is, do residents approve of such a structure at 150 feet tall on the skyline of Carolina Beach in the undeveloped area of the Island?
There are plenty of large extremely tall structures already defining the skyline on Pleasure Island. Those include the water towers in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach; four in total. The high-rise buildings including the Marriot Hotel, Harbor Oaks, Atlantic Towers, Paradise Towers and Pelican Watch in Carolina Beach.
There's already a freestanding cell tower directly behind the Kure Beach Town Hall.
One could arrive at the conclusion that there are already enough alternate high-level locations to erect cellular antennas on Pleasure Island to provide existing and improved coverage.
Currently there are no cellular antennas co-located atop the Marriot Hotel in Carolina Beach.
That's a prime location to provide ample coverage for areas that currently experience spotty signal reception.
Should the Town of Carolina Beach permit a 150' cellular tower when coverage is not currently that bad across the board and could be improved by placing additional antennas on existing structures? Is there room atop those structures to facilitate increased use to meet demand?
The contrary argument is, you will likely not notice a 150' foot tall cell tower off Dow Road unless you often look to the sky when driving down the road or live or stay in higher up dwellings such as condos and high-rise hotels.
Perhaps any question of necessity should be adequately researched based upon a study of need or demand for improved coverage.
Are people really suffering horrible coverage? Would one, two or more tall freestanding towers really solve those issues if they exist? Or perhaps would an expert study show that alternate locations would fulfill the same improvement in coverage?
If the latter is true, and the public desires not to see 150' towers dotting the skyline, then the Town should proceed in their decision making process to that end.
At this point the Town of Carolina Beach needs to proceed with caution until they obtain a level of public input above and beyond the level they normally solicit for zoning decisions because such 150' towers will certainly be seen from many other districts rather than isolated to one area of Town.
People have mixed reviews about cellular coverage on the Island ranging from "it's fine on AT&T" or Verizon to voicing some serious concerns regarding Sprint and T-Mobile.
You can chime in on the issue by visiting our Facebook page at "Island Gazette Newspaper".