One permit will allow the Wireless Tower Group, LLC, of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, to construct a tower on property owned by Billy Hair on Coley Road, near its intersection with NC 87.
The company first submitted a plan to construct the tower earlier this year; however, the Elizabethtown Airport - Economic Commission recommended that the permit not be granted because of the height of the proposed tower.
The initial application for a permit, submitted to the Planning Office in January, called for the construction of a tower 300 feet tall. However, the Planning Board did not act on the request after the Airport Commission expressed opposition to the tower.
The initial application was forwarded to the Airport Commission because the tower, if approved, would have encroached on the "ultimate surface" of the airport by 12.6 feet. Though the tower would not have impacted the airport as it is now configured, it would have affected it if the airport were developed as called for in long-term plans.
The Airport Commission had earlier stated opposition to a proposed tower that would have been built in Elizabethtown because of similar concerns. That special use permit was also ultimately denied.
In Monday's meeting and public hearing on the permit request, Wireless Tower Group presented a revised plan to construct the tower at 275 feet, rather than the 300 feet called for in the first application.
Attorney Jonathan Yates, speaking on behalf of the company, said the revised plan would not encroach on airspace at the airport. He explained that it would allow much better cellular capability in the area, which would not only benefit residents in the area and travelers on NC 87, but also, provide much better service to the new East Bladen High School.
Yates said that up to seven wireless communications carriers could locate equipment on the tower.
No one expressed any opposition to granting this permit.
After a discussion of the benefits of having the tower by Yates and several residents from the area, the Planning Board unanimously approved the special use permit.
The second permit the board approved will allow U.S. Cellular to build a wireless tower on the property of Floyd Merritt on the grounds of Merritt Pottery.
The board had heard this request at its last meeting; however, there were not enough board members present to vote on the application. After a brief review of the information on that tower, the board again voted unanimously to approve the permit.
The motions on both permits stipulated that construction must begin within 12 months and that the companies must allow Bladen County's E-911 system to utilize the facility at no cost to the county.