Taller tower in Southern Shores aimed at Verizon service

By on May 14, 2019

Verizon cell service

The original tower was finished in 2015. (Rob Morris)

American Towers wants to add 20 feet to its 130-foot-tall cell phone facility in Southern Shores in an effort to improve service for Verizon in an area plagued by dropped calls and weak signals.

The original tower, which was finished in February of 2015, was installed for AT&T and vastly improved service for that carrier.

Now American Towers wants to reconstruct it to add antennas for Verizon. The facility includes equipment on the ground.

American Tower builds and operates cell structures. It is is leasing the parcel and subletting space to third-party wireless carriers.

The monopole, which is designed to look like a large flagpole, is on a piece of Southern Shores Civic Association property at the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and N.C. 12 in an area known as the triangle.

The triangle area also includes a parking lot with 18 spaces that residents use so that they can walk to the beach.

While there had been some controversy over the aesthetics of such a tower in the past, many residents live in dead areas that get virtually no reception.

In 2013, Velocitel Inc. approached the town about possibly erecting a similar tower in front of town hall or directly behind it in a nearby cul-de-sac on Skyline Drive. But the application was denied.

The tower can now support three locations for antennas, two of which are being used by AT&T and T-Mobile. Verizon would use the third, but will need an additional spot. American says the added height is to accommodate Verizon’s equipment and would not be directly related to improving service.

Plans call for replacing a 100- to 130-foot section and adding a new 20-foot section at the top, Deputy Town Manager and Planning Director Wes Haskett said.

Extending the tower requires an amendment to a conditional use permit. The request goes before the Southern Shores Planning Board May 20.

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