The up to 200-foot towers that help boost your cellphone signal but are often considered an eyesore are becoming less common and being replaced by smaller poles.
At least 10 poles have been installed around Greenwood, such as along Emerson Avenue, County Line Road and Main Street, in the last year.
But a new plan to add five more of those poles in the Center Grove area is raising concerns about safety from residents and leading county officials to question what kind of guidelines should be in place.
The poles that boost signal are a newer technology, which isn’t included in the county’s zoning and development rules that govern the placement of cellphone towers, planning director David Hittle said.
And while residents don’t have as many objections to them since they are smaller, the county still doesn’t want to see too many go up, Hittle said.
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“We do have a concern about how much these will inundate the landscape,” Hittle said.
Recently, Zayo, a contractor for Verizon, proposed installing five new cellphone poles in the Center Grove area.
Three of the poles would be located along Fairview Road, near intersections with Morgantown Road, Tara Circle and Leisure Lane. Two others are proposed near Center Grove High School, with one proposed off Stones Crossing Road, east of Morgantown Road, and the other off Pennington Road, east of Morgantown Road, according to paperwork filed with the county.
The proposal has been concerning to residents, especially in the Carefree subdivision off Fairview Road, because of safety issues. And that is a concern the county is looking into and working with the highway department on, Hittle said.
Jim Long, a former county commissioner who lives in Carefree, is concerned about the dangers the added poles would pose to drivers, especially at the intersection of Fairview Road and Leisure Lane. The intersection is dangerous, and he already takes extra caution whenever he drives through, he said.
“When it’s my time to go, I wait to see if the car is going to stop, and sometimes they don’t,” Long said.
He has seen several accidents happen at that intersection, especially when the roads are slick during the winter, he said. The neighborhood at one point removed a brick sign from that area, because it had been struck by more than one vehicle, he said.
So he worries if a cellphone pole is installed there, it will be another hazard for drivers, he said.
“Someone could really be hurt because of that,” Long said.
And in other areas, such as along Worthsville Road in Greenwood, communities have moved utility poles away from the road to make it safer for drivers, he said.
The county has other places for the poles, and that intersection, which has become more and more busy in recent years, isn’t the best one, he said.
The poles are set to be considered by the county board of zoning appeals on Sept. 27.