The Greene County Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday denied requests related to the placement of a cell tower off of Stone Dam Road.
The board upheld a decision by the Greene County Building and Planning Office not to permit use of an “engineered fall zone” to meet cell tower setback requirements for the proposed project.
The board also denied a further request for front, left side and right side setback variances for the cell tower.
The cell tower was proposed by Verizon Wireless for property owned by Gary and Laura Smith at 435 Stone Dam Road. A large part of the parcel sits off the roadway and is currently undeveloped.
The decision to deny the use of the engineered fall zone to meet setback requirements was based on two sections of the Greene County Zoning Resolution.
The regulations require that the minimum distance from the base of a cell tower to any adjacent property, interior lot lines and street right-of-way shall be at least equivalent to the height of the tower plus 25 feet. The proposed tower was to be 160 feet fall, which would require a setback of 185 feet.
The engineered clear zone is addressed in regulations about structures inside the setback requirement area. No structures are allowed inside that area except for support buildings for the tower.
However, if a licensed engineer submits a certified plan or letter that a clear fall zone is less than setback requirements, the regulations do allow property owners to place structures outside the clear fall zone. A clear or engineered fall zone is the area calculated to include the base of a tower that would not fall in a wind or other event and the upper portion of the tower that would fold over or collapse.
The Board of Zoning Appeals agreed with the Building Official’s interpretation that the intent of the regulations was to provide the fall zone for placement of structures within the setback area and that the setbacks are meant to diminish the noise and visual impact from a tower in addition to providing protection to adjoining properties from the danger of a falling tower.
Verizon’s position was that the engineered fall zone could be used to provide setbacks that would meet requirements. Using the fall zone, they argued the setbacks can be decreased to almost 147 feet in the front, almost 160 feet on the right side and 143 feet on the left.
The related variance request was also denied. In lengthy discussions, it appeared that other locations on the property could be used for the tower.
In other business, the board granted a front yard setback variance for the Sherry Myers property at 35 Doak Hensley Road to allow the construction of an addition to the home that will be 45 feet from the street’s centerline, 10 feet less than regulations require.
The property is unusually shaped and other houses in the area have similar setbacks from the road centerline.