Following a 20-minute executive session Wednesday, the Belington Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously to recommend the go-ahead of the controversial construction of a 180-foot cell tower.
The recommendation of the board will be considered tonight at the Belington City Council meeting.
Alan Coberly, chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, said board members had received all the information they needed to make their recommendation.
"We have everything including information from the City Planning Commission, and we have all of our information from the hearing as well as the city codes and the city strategic plans," Coberly said at the beginning of Wednesday's meeting.
The debate over the construction of the 180-foot cell tower began in 2007, but became heated this March when Don Harris, building permit inspector for the city of Belington, presented the council with a permit for construction of the tower for Verizon, as well as an 11-foot equipment shelter and internal diesel generator at the base of the structure, all inside a fenced compound.
During that meeting, Harris recommended denial of the permit, stating that the limit of structures is less than 80 feet within city limits. At that meeting, Council voted to deny the permit under the guidelines and passed the matter on to the zoning board of appeals committee, which has the authority to approve a variance.
On Aug. 8, the Belington Zoning Board of Appeals met at City Hall to address the proposed cell tower. At the meeting, committee members heard from those in favor of and against the tower.
Jeff Kimble, attorney for Verizon, explained that the company has a federal permit "which requires them to provide a certain level of services to West Virginia." A tower in Belington is necessary for seamless coverage on U.S. Route 250.
Homeowner Nancy Snider also addressed committee members.
"This is more of an emotional thing for us," Snider said. "We don't doubt the use of our property won't be limited. The tower is not on our property. We are upset at what the tower will do to the value of our property."
Belington City Council will meet at 7:30 p.m. The issue of the cell tower is on the agenda for consideration.
Contact Beth Christian Broschart by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at IMT_Broschart on Twitter.