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Broadband Tower for Massies Mill Approved

From Nelson County Times
Katrina Koerting

The final tower in the county’s broadband project got the green light last week after unanimous approval by the county’s planning commission and board of supervisors.
A special meeting was held last Thursday for the supervisors so the tower could be put in place as soon as possible.
The 114-foot class III communications tower will be located at 961 Tanyard Road in Roseland. The property is owned by the county and is also the site of the now abandoned Massies Mill school-turned-recreation center, as well as a collection site.
About 420 addresses fall in its service area, said Tim Padalino, a planner with the Nelson County Planning and Zoning office.
“It’s a very useful site in that perspective,” he said.
The site proposal comes after the county spent months trying to find a location that can serve a large portion of residents and connect with other towers in the network. The biggest challenge is the topography in the Massies Mill area.
Due to location, the county asked the commission not to require the tower be screened. The commission declined, saying something else might move into the abandoned building.
“We recycle these old buildings all of the time,” said Linda Russell, the Central District commissioner. “There should be a landscape plan, but we don’t need to approve it.”
The landscape plan will be approved administratively by the planning and zoning office.
Landscaping would only be required on one side of the tower. The whole property is enclosed by woods. Supervisors suggested the landscaping doesn’t have to be done immediately and can be taken care of later when a use is determined for the old school.
The tower will be 110 feet tall with a lightning rod. It will have a microwave dish at the top. The commission only approved the microwave dish on top and said another application would be needed for other features, like antennas.
The commission and supervisors also approved an exception for the tower so it could be located in the view hed of a scenic byway.
The tower’s application had approval from all of the necessary agencies, except for the Department of Historical Records, which had not responded as of last week’s meeting. The county did not expect there to be a problem and the county’s historical society has voluntarily submitted a letter saying it endorses the tower.
Supervisors also decided to ask the Virginia Department of Transportation to use money allocated to the county for secondary road projects to be used on improving Tanyard Road and expanding the access road.
“It’s a high traffic secondary road and we’re the reason for the traffic,” said Tommy Harvey, the board’s chair.
The commission also asked the county to paint the towers because they were very shiny and distracting.
The painting was mentioned but not discussed at the supervisors’ meeting and no vote was taken.