Andrew Dys

Clover residents rail against 180-foot cell tower - zoning board approves it anyway

Outraged neighbors blasted a proposed 180-foot cell tower in Clover at a zoning hearing Thursday night, but town officials approved the tower anyway.

In a 3 to 2 vote, Clover’s zoning appeals board ruled the town was right to allow Verizon to build the tower under existing zoning rules for the property, even though it sits just yards from several houses and a church, and in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The property is zoned industrial and has been for at least 25 years, town officials said.

The decision made property owners and neighbors irate and sets up a likely court battle between the residents of the town and the town itself.

“There has to be a better place,” said Ed Dees Jr. who lives across the street – 40 yards – from the tower site. “We should not be subjected to this 180-foot tower.”

Dees filed the appeal to the town giving Verizon a permit to build the tower, but since the tower plans became public after it was reported in The Herald, dozens of neighbors have come out against it. More than 25 people turned out against the tower at Thursday’s zoning appeals board meeting.

Dees was livid with representatives from the tower company who claimed in the meeting that the spot was for the betterment of residents. He told the tower representatives that they took all he had worked for with the tower site so close to his home.

“We are just going to keep fighting,” Dees said.

Clover Town Councilman Todd Blanton, who lives down the street from the site, vowed to take the decision to a lawsuit.

“We’re going to try to take it to circuit court – we need the community support,” Blanton said.

Blanton remains convinced the zoning appeals board was not given all the information it needed to consider the tower application.

Not a single resident at the meeting Thursday was for the tower, and opposition included York County Magistrate Judge and property owner Jay Grayson, and Clover resident and York County Councilman Bruce Henderson.

Neighbors who live across the street and close to the tower are unanimously opposed.

Debbie Shelton said the existing dilapidated mill is “already an eyesore. We don’t need another eyesore.”

Clover native Laurin McCarley scoffed at the claims by the tower builder and the town that if the tower fell it would fall only 42 feet.

“This is a monstrosity, terrible, an eyesore,” McCarley said.

Some neighbors have even bought signs that are against the tower. However, despite two zoning board members saying they hadn’t received enough information or were just plain against it, the town’s permit was approved.

Martha Ashe, a zoning board member, was clearly upset that she only received some of the tower information in recent weeks.

“I am just not going to vote for it (the tower),” Ashe said.

But the majority ruled.

Zoning board chairman William Pugh questioned the site but voted for it. Vice-chairman William Vaughn said his heart was against it, but “my hands are tied.”

It remains unclear when Dees, Blanton and the dozens of other neighbors who are opposed will file suit against the town, but any lawsuit could halt construction until all appeals are finished.