POWHATAN – The Powhatan County Board of Supervisors last week approved two telecommunications towers to help upgrade the county’s emergency radio communications system.

During the board’s meeting on Monday, Oct. 28, supervisors voted unanimously to recommend approval of a telecommunications tower at 1725 Cook Road and another at 2040 Anderson Highway. Both received conditional use permits for telecommunications towers up to 400 feet in height.

These two towers will be part of building up a next generation 911 system that allows first responders to communicate no matter where they are in the county. This is part of the county’s plan to replace its land mobile radio system (LMR), which is no longer supported.

Because the board of supervisors was halfway through hour five of a six-and-a-half-hour meeting, Thomas P. Nolan, director of emergency 911 communications, did not give a formal presentation, instead taking a few questions from board members and addressing concerns raised by two citizens about studies suggesting possible negative impacts on humans and livestock living near the Cook Road tower.

The height of the towers is to ensure maximum coverage for as wide of an area as possible instead of having several shorter towers to provide the same coverage, Nolan said.

The FCC has a bulletin about the maximum public exposure standards for radiation, he said. An application for each tower will be submitted to the FCC to make sure it complies with those standards.

Carson Tucker, who represents District 5, said the board has gone on record saying its two major responsibilities are education of its young people and public safety. These towers are part of the effort to improve public safety by having better coverage for first responders, he said.

Other business handled by the board of supervisors included:

* Charla Schubert, director of finance, gave a brief presentation on a resolution to budget and appropriate $988,000 from the county’s General Fund Capital Maintenance Reserve to use for capital projects. The funds will be used for roof replacements, HVAC improvements, asbestos remediation at the Skaggs Road office, access control Courthouse Village signs, security enhancements, Fighting Creek Park land expansion, Phase I of a transportation master plan, a heavy rescue vehicle, admin vehicles, a utilities master plan, and waste water treatment plant security upgrades.

The board voted unanimously to budget and appropriate these funds.

* The supervisors voted unanimously to authorize county administrator Ted Voorhees to execute a maintenance agreement with L3Harris, the company the county selected to build its new land mobile radio (LMR) system. This maintenance contract with L3Harris includes software, fixed network equipment upgrade, equipment repair/replacement for 10 years after county acceptance of the new LMR system. This contract also provides an on-site system maintenance radio technician who will be required to live in Powhatan County to monitor and maintain the system. A non-appropriation clause allows for a multi-year agreement without unlawfully binding future boards.

Nolan talked about the new LMR system briefly and how much maintenance is required to keep the system updated and well maintained.

* The board unanimously approved a request by Stavemill II LLC to rezone 16.19 acres of land southeast of the intersection of U.S. Route 60 (Anderson Highway)/State Route 634 (Stavemill Road)/State Route 1351 (Luck Stone Road). The properties were rezoned from General Commercial (C) and General Commercial (C) with proffered conditions to Commerce Center (CC) with proffered conditions. The subject properties are undeveloped parcels within Stavemill Crossing, a commercial development in eastern Powhatan County.

There were no comments during the public hearing and the only comment was from Larry Nordvig, District 2, commending the developer for the way they have cooperated with staff and “interested in turning out a product that is Powhatan friendly.”

Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.

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