Jefferson County, West Virginia may soon have a new cellphone tower. The good news is that the tower may improve cellphone reception for travelers on US 340 in the northern section of Clarke County. The bad news is that the tower will add yet another line-of-site obstruction into the county’s north-facing view shed.
According to County planning administrator Chuck Johnston, the proposed 199-foot tower will be located about 200 yards north of the Clarke County – Jefferson County line on Rainbow Club Road. By adhering to a tower height of less than 200-feet the structure will not be required to exhibit a warning light.
In describing the tower proposal to the Clarke County Planning Commissioners on Friday, Johnston said that Clarke County has little influence over the new structure.
“The tower can be “administratively” approved by Jefferson County’s government” Johnston told the planners. Administrative approval effectively means that a particular land use is already included in the governing body’s comprehensive plan and, therefore, does not require a public hearing for approval.
The cellphone tower is being proposed by EBI Consulting of Burlington, Massachusetts. According to the company’s website EBI’s telecommunications business includes handling the licensing and siting of cellular communications towers for wireless companies and tower erectors, including investigation of environmental, architectural, visual, and historical issues. “It’s been a very nice niche market for us” said Steve Kmiotek, EBI’s manager of environmental health and safety services. EBI Consulting’s clients include Cingular Wireless, U.S. Cellular, and Spectrum Resources Towers.
Both Johnston and Planning Commissioner Cliff Nelson (Russell) have visited the site which is located directly behind the Rainbow Club Bar on the west side of US 340 immediately after the West Virginia state line.
“The service building won’t be visible from Clarke County” Nelson said. “But the tower certainly will be.”