Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

James R. and Betty L. Mills, owners

Community Wireless Structures, applicant

September 16, 2002



Sharon Grove McCamy, Lee District


Staff Lead:


Elizabeth A. Cook

Community Development

Topic:  Special Exception #SE02-L-30, Community Wireless Structures

              Telecommunications Facility

               Lee Magisterial District



The applicant is requesting special exception approval pursuant to Zoning Ordinance Section 11-102.3 to allow the construction of a 150-foot telecommunications structure with antenna and equipment on this ±47.41-acre parcel.  In addition, the applicant is seeking to obtain a determination of substantial accord with the Comprehensive Plan as required by Section 15.2-2232 of the Code of Virginia.  There is an existing house and the Fairways Driving Range, a golf practice facility, on the subject property located at 11435 Lucky Hill Road (Route 655) just east of the intersection of Route 28 and Route 15/29.  The property is located between the Remington and Bealeton Service Districts.

The applicant indicates that the requested height is designed to meet the expanding need for wireless coverage along Route 15/29 and along Route 28 in the southern portion of the County.  The applicant's justification identifies a 7-mile gap between the existing Opal monopole, located at the intersection of Routes 17 and 29 and the SBA, Inc. lattice structure located near Route 29 in Culpeper County.  The application indicates interest on the part of Sprint PCS and VoiceStream Wireless to locate on this structure should it be approved.

Analysis and Recommendations:

The County’s telecommunications consultant, Atlantic Technology Consultants, Inc. (ATC), has reviewed this application for conformance with applicable Ordinance provisions, and its report is included with the Planning Commission staff report, Attachment C to this report.  ATC advises that this structure is purely speculative with regard to future use, fails to fulfill a legitimate need based upon Sprint’s existing service and exceeds the County’s maximum height restriction of 120 feet.  Should other service providers seek to provide service in the vicinity of the proposed structure, the existing power transmission towers near the Town of Remington provide excellent co-location alternatives, in addition to the 60–foot water storage tank in the Town.  Given the findings described above and the evidence presented in the application, this structure is not warranted, in ATC's opinion.

Due to the proposed tower height of 150 feet, the Zoning Ordinance required the applicant to present its proposal to the Architectural Review Board (ARB).  The ARB did review the applicant's request and made some initial findings related to the tower design and height.  However, the ARB's final recommendation was as follows:


"The Architectural Review Board would prefer telecommunication installations be attached to existing structures, such as Church Steeples, Water Tanks, Silos and Power Transmission Towers.  However, the wooded site proposed by Community Wireless has merit and the Board would give a favorable recommendation for a tower designed for mitigated visual impact, such as light gray lattice, not to exceed 80 feet in height."


The Board of Supervisors held a public hearing August 19, 2002 on this request.  The item was tabled to allow additional time for review.  On September 11, 2002, Supervisor McCamy and staff met with the applicant and, as a result of that meeting, a resolution of approval has been prepared for the Board's consideration.  Supervisor McCamy has indicated that her preference is a lattice tower not to exceed 120 feet in height, with the understanding that this tower will allow co-location opportunities and thereby limit the need for additional towers in excess of 80 feet in this area of the County.  In addition, the graduated painting design required will help limit the visual impact of this proposed tower.


Planning Commission Review:


The Planning Commission held a public hearing on this case on June 27, 2002, and voted unanimously to deny the proposed special exception request and determined the proposal was not in substantial conformance with the Comprehensive Plan.  The reasons cited for the Commission's action included:

  • The need to follow the County's Telecommunication Ordinance.
  • The proposed tower was the wrong height.
  • That the applicant failed to provide a legitimate need for the tower.
  • There are other locations for co-location.
  • The proposed tower appears to address a capacity problem not a coverage problem.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors: 


Consider taking action on the proposed resolution for approval.  In addition, a resolution for denial is also included, as recommended by the Planning Commission.


Financial Impacts Analysis:


There was no financial impact analysis required for this request.

Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:




A.   Resolution of Approval

B.   Resolution of Denial  

C.     Planning Commission Staff Report