Whiteside cell tower off table

The cell phone tower proposed for the Whiteside Cove area is off the table for now. Verizon has “indefinitely suspended” plans to locate a tower in the area after requests from Jackson County planning officials that various issues be addressed in the company’s application, chiefly that the design incorporate a camouflage-style tower instead of the originally-proposed mono-pole design.

Karen Schulz, Verizon spokesperson, said that the requested changes — primarily disguising the tower as a tree — would not allow the company to accomplish its goal of expanding capacity in the area.

“Once we made these adjustments there were significant changes to the antenna and the signal,” Schulz said. 

Verizon’s proposed tower has generated a lot of community input, largely negative. Nearby residents took issue with the possibility of a telecommunications pole situated among the natural surroundings of Whiteside. A public hearing before the Jackson planning board was slated for Thursday night in Cashiers; that planning board meeting, sans hearing, will now be held in Sylva.  

Craig Pendergrast, whose property borders the proposed tower site, was among those voicing their concerns to Jackson officials this summer. He said he was “pleased” that Verizon’s application has been pulled.

“If it had not been withdrawn then it should have been denied,” Pendergrast said.

Schulz said that Verizon will continue to “look for options in this area.” The company does not have a timeline for the search.

“We will look to find an alternate place to meet these capacity needs,” Schulz said. “There’s still significant capacity need in this area. Our engineers are going to go back to the drawing board.” 

— Jeremy Morrison, News Editor

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