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Verizon pulls plans for cellphone tower
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A proposed cellphone tower will not be built on property in southern Dawson County after a group of neighbors came out in strong opposition to the measure.

According to Dawson County Planning and Development Director Rachel Burton, representatives with Verizon Wireless withdrew their conditional use permit that would be needed to construct the tower on Black's Mill Road.

The property, owned by Joan Caine, is currently zoned residential agriculture.

Spokeswoman Sheryl Sellaway said Verizon is “focused on providing the best service possible to its customers in Dawson County” and will continue to evaluate options.

“With regard to this specific location and the decision to withdraw the application, while we were confident we could ultimately prevail in any appeal, we felt it better to focus resources on providing needed services rather than costly and time-consuming litigation,” she said.

In addition to seeking a conditional use permit for the tower, attorneys for Verizon had also asked for a variance that would allow a reduction in the required distance to the nearest tower.

The closest tower is about two miles (10,475 feet) from the site, while the county's ordinance requires a distance of 15,840 feet, or three miles, between towers.

Sandra Kritikos, whose property abuts the proposed site, was among a dozen homeowners that spoke in opposition to the communication tower during the March 17 meeting of the Dawson County Planning Commission.

"On the Verizon website, there are 20 towers within four miles of the property right now," she said. "I'd hate to see them set precedence, because if they do that and put a cell tower within two miles of this one, will that mean they can do it again in two miles?"

The planning commission denied the variance request.

The board, an appointed five-member panel that makes recommendations on zoning measures to county commissioners, also voted to recommend denial of the conditional use permit.

Had Verizon not withdrawn the application, the matter was set to go before the county's board of commissioners on April 14.

Attempts to reach the communication giant for comment were not immediately answered.