Andrew Dys

Clover cell tower showdown Thursday; protest expected

More than seven months of Clover residents’ battling a proposed cell tower comes to a head Thursday when the town’s zoning board hears a second appeal from neighbors who are opposed to the site.

Opponents of the tower are expected to protest – not just against the tower permit, but to get the abandoned textile mill next to the site cleaned up.

Some against the tower have set up a makeshift headquarters across from where it would be built, complete with canopy, chairs and signs.

Town officials issued a permit for the tower last year, saying it fits current zoning and safety requirements. But Ed Dees Jr., who lives directly across the street from the proposed site, appealed the permit, claiming the tower is unsafe and would harm property values, among other problems.

Dees and Clover Town Councilman Blanton have been joined in opposition by several townspeople opposed to the tower site who also want the town to take action to clean up the mill building next to the property. A single owner owns both properties.

Neighbors are united against the tower and are expected to gather in opposition Thursday, Dees said.

“I am not going away,” he said.

The proposed tower would be built at the corner of Walnut and Hampshire streets, just east of U.S. 321 behind the shell of the former American Thread textile mill. It would sit about 40 yards from the front porches of several homes and across the street from a church. Some residents have described the tower, which would become the tallest structure in town, as a “monstrosity.”

Blanton said residents do not oppose cell towers in general.

“The issue always has been the location,” he said.

Clover’s zoning appeals board approved the tower in January when dozens of residents voiced opposition, but that vote was never ratified after the town found it had a town employee on the board, making the vote illegal. On Thursday, the zoning appeals board will hear Dees’ appeal, as well as a presentation from the tower company.

Want to go?

The Clover Board of Zoning Appeals meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at Clover Community Center, 120 Bethel St., Clover.