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March 11, 2005     Cape Gazette
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March 11, 2005
 

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18 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, March 11 - March 14, 2005 Cingular proposes tower near Milton By Karl Chalabala Cingular Wireless wants to build a 150-foot cellphone tower on a farm outside of Milton on Cave Neck Road. Angry neighbor's argued March 7 before the county Board of Ad- justment, whose approval Cingu- lar needs for a height special-use exception, that the tower's looks could lower property values, planes flying from Eagle's Crest Airfield could strike the tower and hurt someone and Cingular's service did not need improvement in their area. "This is a farming area," said Cedar Creek Falls resident Fran Cardaci. "Unless it looks like a bunch of cows I'm opposed to it. There are towers behind Southern States on Route 1 across from St. Jude's that's only two miles away. I don't think this is the best loca- tion for this tower. On Cingular's website the coverage area says Delaware is just fine, so who is telling a story here tonight?" Applause rang out from the 23 opponents attending the hearing. "That's sales versus reality," said board member Ron McCabe. "Then who is telling a story?" Cardaci asked. "It this a company you want to deal with?" Cingular's representatives said a new tower would allow them to better serve their customers locat- ed in between Route 1 and Route 9. "This tower is important be- cause Route 1 and Route 9 are be- coming busy service areas," said Cingular engineer Brock Riffel. "We need to install the monopole to cover the gaps in service." Riffel said towers in Delaware, unlike Pennsylvania and other states with major elevation changes, primarily lose their pow- er across distances. The towers only put out, according to Riffell, 100 watts of radio power and over three to four miles that signal di- minishes much the way a car loses FM radio stations on a long trip. Pam Scott, Cingular's attorney, said the FCC demands, as a re- quirement in their license, Cingu- lar provide seamless service. Riffel said Cingular used a car loaded with detection equipment and customers' complaints as the basis for determining the best lo- cation for the tower. In the ab- sence of any major towers already in that area, Riffel said Cingular needed to pursue building their own tower. "I don't care what I hang my antenna on," Riffel said, "as long as its substantively large enough Station Continued from page 1 He said those businesses repre- sent a sufficient advertising base to initially sustain the station. Gottesman said the Federal Communications Commission license he has obtained was origi- nally issued to the Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana Inc, but the California-based company has apparently changed its plans to provide religion-based televi- sion broadcasts in the area. "What I've done is ask the FCC for permission to become the new owner of the license," Gottesman said in a phone interview from his home in Macon, Ga. He said Channel 59 would be run as a "for profit" station airing paid com- mercials. Gottesman said he owns 100 percent of the FCC license that, at this point of the application process, is called a construction permit. He said the permit expires May 5, 2007, and if the station is not on-air by that time the FCC can revoke the license. He said the application could still be challenged if objections were filed with the commission, "however, they would have to have a very good reason to attempt to block it at this point," he said of the license transfer. He said the FCC would consid- er objections only through the 30- day public comment period that ends early next month. Gottesman said the FCC licens- ing process is very detailed and examines personal aspects of the applicant's life, including crimi- nal background and moral charac- ter checks. He said nothing in his background would affect issuance of the license. Gottesman, a retired radio sta- tion engineer, said the UHF signal Channel 59 transmission would be strong throughout Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, and Lewes. He said he has been negotiating with owners of a Rehoboth Beach condominium for space that would be appropriate for studios, as well as a base for the station's rooftop-mounted antenna. Gottesman said Channel 59's signal would be obtainable over the air simply by attaching a "paper clip" to a television set's antenna terminal. "Our signal will be that strong - what the FCC calls Grade A sig- nal - in Rehoboth Beach," he said. - While the station would be available over the air, he said he's also planning to make it available through cable television providers. "Being on cable is extremely important to us and when I visit, I'm going to do everything possi- ble to work out an agreement with the cable company," he said. He said he plans to have discus- sions with area cable service providers in an effort to make the station available on cable. Gottesman, native of Brooklyn, N.Y., said he has never visited the Cape Region. to support it. There is no such structure in that area, so we have to build'the pole." Cingular has already received permission from the state's farm- land preservation program to build the tower. The farm Cingu- lar wants to place the tower on is in an Agricultural Preservation District. Cingular site acquisition man- ager Tom Zolner said they had re- ceived permission from the pro- gram because the state sees cell- phone towers as an additional rev- enue stream for farmers that does not require the sale of the land. Cingular will lease the land and it will not prevent farming. Cingular may need FAA ap- proval for the tower, as it is only a half-mile from the Eagle's Crest Airfield, which was another pri- mary complaint of the neighbors. "I would not like to be the ex- ample of a plane hitting the tower and landing on my house," said Joe Brooks. "There is a clear and present danger here. Crop dusters do fly that low around here." The board granted Cingular's attorney the opportunity to rebut Leisure Plus SPAS - BILLIARD TABLES - POOLS Route t & Route 2 4 next to the Wawa, in Rehoboth Beach (302) 644-4732 Monday-Friday 9- 6 Saturday 9" 4 Sunday n - 3 (Closed Wednesday) the statements the opposition gave. "If Cingular didn't need a new tower," Scott said, "they wouldn't be spending all this money on finding a site and building a $200,000 tower. The savings they would realize is incredible. The opponents also did not provide any evidence the tower would lower property values." The board deferred action on the tower until the next regular meeting at 7 p.m., Monday, March 21, in the council chambers in Georgetown. 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