Cell phone tower placement policy - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Cell phone tower placement policy

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Everyone wants cell service, but not everyone wants cell towers. Chesterfield County deals with a delicate balancing act.

The issue -- the increasing need for towers, with versus neighborhoods that don't want them in the backyard. That's becoming harder to juggle, with more than 20-percent of Virginians getting rid of landlines in favor of cell phones only. 

He's got the trendy case attached to his hip. "I think the place I got this was having Free Phone Friday," said Richard Cecil. 

The shiny new smart phone is now his one and only. Four years ago he said goodbye to his land line. 

"It was a separation anxiety issue for me, I think, because you're so used to it," Cecil said. 

Because it's his only way to communicate over the phone, Richard needs service as he travels through Chesterfield. Cell towers are all across the county except a portion of the southern end. County planner Kirk Turner says with more people using the handheld devices, the tower approval process needs to get better. 

"So we're looking to improve our policy to help people participate in the county's process and to make it easier to locate towers," Turner said. 

Out with the old, and in with a newer policy that tells cell companies exactly what requirements need to be met before they even apply, like the look of the tower. That's important to William Harris. 

"If I don't have to look at it and don't have this thing towering over my roof, then I'm okay with it," Harris said. 

Today, he is not one of the twenty- percent who is cell phone exclusive. 

"I still know a lot of people that have landlines and probably will never get rid of them," he said. 

But as technology improves, William may cut his land line. And when he does county planners hope the tower process, and service is better than it is now. With a more efficient cell tower policy, it could take less time for towers to be approved. 

The public will still have a say. An adoption of the policy could come by August. Chesterfield currently has 140 cell towers, but another 13 have been approved and should be up and running soon. The bulk of them are near the Chesterfield - Richmond border. 

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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