Letter to the Editor: Update from reader on Southern Shores cell towers

Published 7:33 am Monday, February 28, 2022


To the Editor:

To update the good folks of Southern Shores, the two “small cellular towers” attached are examples of what will be possibly popping up in select locations near you. The metal finger is at the intersection of Hickory and Wax Myrtle. The wooden pole is off 12 on 9th Av in SS.

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With the assistance of a very helpful town manager (Cliff Ogburn) I found out that US Cellular installed the tower at Hickory and Wax Myrtle, and Verizon the 9th Avenue pole (not completed with proper head-ware yet for 5G).

If I understand correspondence between Mr. Ogburn and the two companies the 10 foot easement is open territory for the neediest utility, and there are other possible carriers to install infrastructure, not to mention Dominion, and other utility providers.

I believe each provider has their own needs/requirements, and some poor devil somewhere must have as an objective in their yearly evals that they are in charge of ensuring that the mix of needs of all is efficient, responsible, and does not detract from the health or environment of those closest to the towers.

And then again, maybe there isn’t. The town approves the application based on info submitted. I believe most town managers would say the miles and miles of territories tied up in state right of ways is a bit like the wild west.

In attempts to contact US Cellular and Verizon, both providers responded to my question regarding how they determined their locations. US Cellular – who was the installer of the pole at Hickory/Wax Myrtle – was asked would it be possible to move the existing tower closer to route 12 in a wooded section that already has a large Dominion contraption on it said: “A site located on NC 12 would have been too far from our target area to meet our network coverage objectives. Typically, sites need to be within 100 to 200 feet of our target area, this varies based on topography.”

As nicely a “No” as I’ve heard lately. No hope for our new view with pole to be restored. Boo Hoo.

I have lost track of how many planned or soon to be planned installs of small cellular towers that will be popping up over the next months. At one point I think in this newspaper an article said that X more were planned? The communications providers are probably not as concerned as you who live in SS may be, as to where they place or space their towers.

You should be interested if a pole in your yard concerns you. And while our fair town is not to be blamed for approving and trying to accommodate the needs of a developing town, the beauty and habitat preservation of the area should be a major factor in the approval process and a comprehensive plan developed that includes more than just getting “within 100 to 200 feet of our target area.”

Russ Watkins
Southern Shores