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December 3, 2018

Swift approval anticipated for Hume tower plan

Calvert Crossland and Verizon Wireless seek approval for a 145-foot monopole on Leeds Manor Road.
Barring some huge outcry, I think everyone’s for it. I don’t see anything controversial about it. Everybody’s saying, ‘When do we get it? When do we get it’?
— Supervisor Mary Leigh McDaniel
Hume Tower Proposal
• What: Special exception permit request to construct a 145-foot telecommunications tower near Hume in Northwestern Fauquier.

• Where: 14.8 acres at 5060 Leeds Manor Road.

• Zoning: Rural.

• Property owner: Charles P. Fuller.

• Applicants: Calvert Crossland LLC, Baltimore, and Verizon Wireless.

• Next: Fauquier’s planning commission will conduct a Jan. 17 public hearing on the application. The five-member commission serves as an advisory panel to the board of supervisors, which has final authority. The supervisors Feb. 8 could conduct a public hearing on the application and approve it.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The Northwestern Fauquier village finally could get a telecommunications tower, providing reliable cell phone and broadband internet service to the hilly, rural area.

Applicants Calvert Crossland LLC of Baltimore and Verizon Wireless seek special exception permit approval from the county board of supervisors to construct a 145-foot monopole near Hume on 14.8 acres at 5060 Leeds Manor Road.

Owned by Charles P. Fuller, the proposed site has rural zoning.

Fauquier’s planning commission Jan. 17 will conduct a public hearing on the application. The commission serves as an advisory panel to the board, which has final authority.

That means the supervisors on Feb. 8 could conduct a public hearing on the application and approve it.

Supervisor Mary Leigh McDaniel, whose Marshall District includes the proposed site, expects the application to sail through the review process.

“Barring some huge outcry, I think everyone’s for it,” Ms. McDaniel said. “I don’t see anything controversial about it. Everybody’s saying, ‘When do we get it? When do we get it’?”

In January 2013, the five-member board unanimously approved AT&T’s special exception permit to construct a 155-foot tower on a site adjoining the Fuller parcel. Hume and nearby residents overwhelmingly backed the project.

But for various reasons, including the death of the original site’s landowner, tower lease issues, AT&T corporate restructuring and expiration of county approvals associated with the project, the tower never got built.

The new Hume tower proposal calls for mounting up to 12 Verizon Wireless antennas and space for three other carriers.

Springfield, Mass.-based Omnipoint Technology will provide broadband service from one of the remaining three positons, according to Calvert Crossland Principal Barb Pivec.

If all goes according to plan, the Hume tower should be completed by July, with Verizon and Omnipoint providing service within the next three months, Ms. Pivec said.

Her company, which will construct and own the tower, also wants AT&T to lease antenna space there to offer wireless phone service, Ms. Pivec added.

“Originally, it was an AT&T search area,” she said of Hume. “So, hopefully, they might consider it.”

Fauquier’s enthusiasm for telecommunications towers stands in stark contrast to the fierce opposition citizens expressed in the early 1990s, when many considered the structures eyesores on the countryside.

Ms. Pivec’s company has played a key role in the county’s efforts to extend broadband to Fauquier’s unserved and underserved areas.

In November 2016, Calvert Crossland received special exception permit approval from the supervisors to construct a 140-foot tower near Casanova. Her company completed the structure by November 2017.

Leasing tower space, Omnipoint began serving the area by July and Verizon by last December.

In June, the supervisors granted Calvert Crossland a special exception permit to construct a 195-foot tower near Goldvein in Southern Fauquier. That tower should be completed in early February, according to Ms. Pivec.

Verizon and Omnipoint should be serving the Goldvein area by April, she said.

With the aim of accelerating their plan to extend broadband internet, the supervisors approved an incentive plan to help Calvert Crossland build six telecommunications towers.

Under the five-page agreement, the company would get as much as $30,000 annually, per tower, for up to five years.

But her ability to secure service agreements upfront by a “primary carrier” such as Verizon, has made it unnecessary to tap the tower construction incentive fund, Ms. Pivec explained.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.

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Paul Conlin · December 3, 2018 at 6:11 pm
Blaze Broadband currently provides Internet and home phone service in around Hume today from its broadcast site on Big Cobbler Mountain, which overlooks the village. No need to wait for a tower to be built. With Internet service you can do WiFi calling on your cell phone or use a microcell for 5 bars of cellular reception.
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