A proposal to put a cell tower on city-owned property was discussed at the Tuesday night Lewisburg city council meeting. The cell tower will be disguised as a tree for aesthetic reasons, and will be located near the Ruflner Drive water tank on the hill above Lewisburg’s eastern boundary, just off U.S. 60.
According to estimates provided by Bill Rothman, owner of Rocon LLC, the tree design will cost almost $100,000. An undisguised tower would cost only about $30,000. There is a dual advantage to hiding the tower in a tree-like form, while also providing revenue for the city. Rothman said he expects to sublease space on the tower to three telecommunications carriers, meaning that the city won’t need another cell tower for many years, according to a report from The Register Herald.
A Ruflner Drive property owner questioned the project, asking what the construction would look like and whether the tower will require a generator that would run day and night. He requested that he be provided answers before the city proceeds with the requested ground lease agreement.
Mayor John Manchester explained that the city council will not make a final decision on the project until discussions with the city attorney Tom White and Rocon’s attorney finish ironing out the details of the lease. A more complete presentation of the cell tower plans will be on the agenda at January’s council meeting.
In other business:
- Lewisburg Council member Kim Morgan Dean announced at the Tuesday night meeting that she has accepted a job offer in Abington, VA, and “very regretfully” will step down from her seat on the city council. Stating it was a hard decision for her to make, she thanked Mayor John Manchester and the council for making her feel welcome. Although Dean’s last day has not yet been determined, Manchester said the city council, in a replacement process, will decide who to fill the vacancy by accepting applications, and then appointing the replacement. The council seat is open to Lewisburg residents who are registered to vote. Manchester said, “The term is approximately 18 months, until the next regularly scheduled election.”
- The Lewisburg House and Garden Tour met the criteria to apply for a $2,900 marketing grant through the city’s Arts & Humanities program. Council approved the grant application.
- Once again the Video Lottery Revenue Program will benefit a local non-profit organization, in this case, it is the Eastern Greenbrier Middle School Band. The school band is soliciting for new uniforms and the city council approved $5,000 toward that goal.
- A Special Recognition for Jesse Guills was presented for his 43 years service as Lewisburg’s City Attorney. Guills, who is now retired, was present for the honor.
- Two re-appointments to the Board of Zoning Appeals were approved by council. Darrewll Hughes and Tom Isaac will continue to volunteer their service on the board.