TAYLORS, S.C. (WSPA) – A new cell tower will be coming to Greenville County despite opposition from the community.
The Board of Zoning Appeals voted Wednesday afternoon during a public hearing to allow the construction of the tower partly on land that’s currently used as a dog park in Taylors.
It will be a Verizon cell tower for now, built by Milestone Communications. Although, the company says they are also planning to have other wireless carriers to use the tower as well. The new tower will be located at the Pavilion Recreation Complex off of Old Spartanburg Road.
The public hearing was well attended by people who frequent the dog park and spoke out against the tower.
“This is a county recreation area,” said one neighbor at the public hearing. “That’s what it was designed to be.”
Neighbors raised concerns of property values decreasing, health risks, and aesthetics of the 120 foot cell tower. The company says they worked with the community. Previous designs had the tower taking up 50 percent of the dog park. Now, they say that number has dropped to 16 percent.
Representatives on behalf of the cell tower told the board this would make the community safer.
“This is going to enhance speed of internet as well as provide further enhancement for public safety,” said Len Forkas, the president of Milestone Communications.
The representative says around 80 percent of 911 calls in the state are made from cell phones. They also say property values go up in areas where there’s better service.
“People want their phones to work,” Forkas said.
As for the neighbors, they say they’re phones work just fine in the area, and they’re losing much more than a dropped call.
“They’re taking away my social life,” said William Rogers. “My dogs we go there every day.”
The board will approve the minutes from this meeting next month. Then, Milestone Communications can move forward with getting permits for the construction which they hope to start by the fall. They would like to have the tower completed and in use by the end of the year. The company also says the dog park will remain open during the construction.
The board did give caveats for approval. Before they voted, they required any additional wireless carriers that might use the tower to also get board approval. And, the company has to plant trees at least eight feet tall around the tower.