Local News

Durham Residents Win Fight To Keep Proposed Sprint Cell Tower Out Of Their Backyards

Posted April 10, 2002

— The fight over a tall tower in Durham is over, for now.

The Board of Adjustments voted 5 to 2 against Sprint's proposed plan to build a cell tower near the Woodcroft community.

Homeowners in Woodcroft's Fortunes Ridge subdivision said their neighborhood is a beautiful place to live with lots of trees and power lines that are underground. They said a Sprint cell tower would be an eyesore.

Homeowners were at city hall Tuesday morning, where the Durham Board of Adjustments took up the matter.

"I moved from a place that had no trees to Woodcroft. I didn't plan to move to Cellcroft," said homeowner John Langlois.

Langlois and other Woodcroft homeowners were tapping all their resources to stop a proposed cell tower. The tower raised a red flag with residents ever since Sprint floated the idea.

"This tower, you can't get around it. It's 160 feet tall and that's about 80 feet taller than the highest tree in the neighborhood," Langlois said.

A Sprint spokeswoman said that the company needs to put up a tower in Woodcroft, because there is a cell phone hole there. In February, the company started floating a large red balloon to give residents an idea of what the tower will look like.

Sprint said no one complained during that time; however, homeowners are doing so now.

"It won't be very good curb appeal for your house if you decide to sell it," another homeowner said.

"We just don't want them planted in the middle of a residential area," Langlois said.

The homeowner has put together his own home video illustrating the before and after. Langlois said 430 homes would be in the tower's line of sight, and that is where homeowners draw the line. They said that they are ready to dig in and fight.

"We're not against progress, we want progress," Langlois said. "We just want growth to be regulated, and in this case, controlled to whatever extent possible. So if we try and we lose, we'll have at least tried."

Sprint planned to plant trees near the tower, but said it would not camouflage it.

Sprint's attorney was expected to attend the meeting, along with neighborhood residents.

Sprint can appeal the board's decision.

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