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Following months of public back-and-forth discussion, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) signed off on a 160-feet Verizon cell tower going up on Worley Road–provided the tower is moved 60 feet from the initially proposed location.

The approval was given during a BOCC meeting Thursday, May 16. The matter had previously been discussed during Planning Commission meetings

The Planning Commission recommended the BOCC approve the tower since the project met setback requirements, though suggested a 200-feet move.

Nearby neighbors of the proposed property site have raised concerns about the possible new tower, including wanting it to be further back from their property in case the tower falls down in a storm.

“I know it may not be a perfect scenario but I understand that,” Commissioner Tray Hawkins said when asking parties representing the tower property about moving the tower as a compromise, given neighbors’ concerns.

Parties representing the tower property agreed to the 60-feet move.

“I didn’t mean to get into negotiations over this but I just thought we could find a happy medium point that we could make everybody not necessarily happy but they could understand the reason why we’re doing it,” Hawkins said.

Planning Commission Chairman John Gay–who is also running for a BOCC seat–also addressed the matter during the May 16 meeting.

“What we did in our April meeting is we realized it was put right in the back corner of the property and (a neighbor) didn’t like that, so we tabled it,” Gay said. “The Commission asked Verizon and the land owner to go back, get together, and see if they’d be willing to move it.”

Gay said the Planning Commission “tried to satisfy everybody” and they were previously told the land owner wouldn’t move the tower. 

“We were trying to mitigate the issue but it didn’t seem like anybody was willing to do it,” Gay said. “It seems like Mr. Hawkins made some headway. We did, as Planning Commission, look at setbacks and distances.”

Gay said he would also like to see the tower moved.