On hold in Fauquier
Crenshaw Road, featured above, intersects with Plum Run Lane, a small road where Verizon wants to build a cell tower disguised as a silo. Part of Crenshaw Road is in the study area for the Civil War Battle of Upperville. Photo courtesy of the Mosby Heritage Area Association
The fight is on whether Verizon can build a cellular phone tower near historic ground in Northern Fauquier County.
The telecommunications giant wants to build an 80-foot structure on Plum Run Lane, disguised as a silo, a stone’s throw from the site of the Cavalry Battles of Aldie-Middleburg-Upperville during the Civil War.
There is already a cell tower in the vicinity where Verizon could co-locate, a common practice throughout Northern Virginia. However, the applicant has argued that the service to their customers near U.S. 50 would be much better with its own tower.
The Fauquier County Planning Commission isn’t satisfied with Verizon’s application for a special exception, and postponed the matter to a later date.
Their chief concerns were insufficient data provided by Verizon at the time of the meeting and the lack of input from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, said commissioner Adrienne Garreau.
As required by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, DHR must be afforded time to study an area being considered for the National Register of Historic Places.
Critics of the cell tower idea say not only would the silo-like tower damage the historic context that organizations like the Mosby Heritage Area Association are trying to preserve, but it’s also unnecessary.
The Battles of Aldie-Middleburg-Upperville allowed Confederate general Robert E. Lee to take his army up to Gettysburg. The Mosby Heritage Area Association is overseeing a grant from the American Battlefield Preservation Program of the National Park Service to protect the lands from development.
“To me, you’re ruining a historic woodshed,” said Wendy Bebie, a member of the Association’s preservation committee. “I can’t believe that they would approve this tower.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Fauquier Times has not heard from Verizon.
*In other news, the Planning Commission agreed to postpone a special exception application from Blue Valley Vineyard & Winery in Delaplane.
The owners of the yet-to-be-constructed facility asked for an extension at last week’s meeting.
The winery is scheduled to be open next summer, according to co-owner Stergio Zissios.
For the complete story on the Atoka cell tower, pick up a copy of today's Fauquier Times.
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