Local News

Scenic Moore County highway to get cellphone tower

Posted December 1, 2014

— The town of Seagrove is famous for its rich display of pottery, but the rural northwest corner of Moore County is also notorious for its poor cellphone service.

The Board of Commissioners recently voted unanimously to build three cellphone towers between Seagrove and Robbins.

But the move isn't popular among some residents who don't want to see a 300-foot tower.

It would rise in plain view of Don Walton's pottery shop.

"It's kind of an eyesore where they're putting it, when there are other options," he said.

N.C. Highway 705 is a state-designated scenic byway.

Moore County used to have an ordinance that no cell tower could go up within a mile of a scenic byway, but this year, county commissioners removed that buffer: Towers now have to be 500 feet from any road.

"It's a scenic byway," Walton said. "It's in the country. People come here to get away from the city and the urban sprawl and the antennas "

But county leaders say the planned tower isn't a matter of convenience. It's an issue of public safety.

"We feel that the safety issue of the people here is more important than the view they see," Moore County Commissioner Otis Ritter said.

Ritter said with all the Pottery Highway tourists and potential for accidents, being able to call 911 is critical.

The board held public hearings, he said, but that only two or three people showed up to voice opposition to the towers.

He doesn't believe it will spoil the scenery. Walton said he doesn't believe it will hurt business.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Mannin Black Dec 2, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    You not having a cell is your own prerogative. However, many people like me only have a cell for communication when it is no sense to keep a land line I don't use. And I would love to be able to receive help when I need it if something happens out on the road.

  • wynnediii Dec 2, 2014

    I have been down those roads many times. It shouldn't take away from any of the junky areas that also inhabit that trek.

  • Trevor Dec 2, 2014

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    The cell tower construction laws state that one carrier must be leasing the tower. The carrier must run the backhaul for fiber, supply the antennas and shed equipment and lease the tower. AT&T is in a partnership with American Tower. The tower company is in the business to make money and most 300' towers cost close to $300,000 to build. AT&T has had a Capex freeze since May and is spending their cash on towers in Mexico, not the US. Also, each tower costs them roughly $85,000 a year to use the frequency do to the FCC frequency auction.

  • heelhawk Dec 2, 2014

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    Congratulations on remaining a Luddite. As for the rest of the country, cell service has gone beyond a "nice to have" and into the realm of necessity. I could give you countless examples of car crashes, people who need to dial 911 but don't have a home phone, reporting road problems. I'll leave you with this one. Law enforcement regularly uses cell phones to communicate when they don't want what they are saying to be broadcast across scanners. Yet you think we should go back to an Amish lifestyle.

  • KT says 35 > 7 Dec 2, 2014

    View quoted thread

    A lot of the large carriers don't own their towers. Usually it is private companies who lease out space to multiple carriers.

  • I Have a Discernible Chin Dec 2, 2014

    I smell money

  • Lightfoot3 Dec 2, 2014

    Couldn't they put in one of those towers disguised as a tree?

    "I don't have a cell phone. Guess I am at some sort of risk." - jimcricket15

    Correct. Though, not more risk that something will happen to you, but more risk at not getting a timely response, and thus more negative consequences, if something does. I'm sure you know of tons of cases of where people were saved because they had a cell phone.

  • jimcricket15 Dec 2, 2014

    Really? Public Safety? How odd. I don't have a cell phone. Guess I am at some sort of risk. Interesting how politicians invent nonsense in their own heads. Can cell phones be helpful? Sure. Are they an absolute necessity. NO, they are not. In fact if you are concerned about safety commissioners, you would not have towers anywhere near roads.

  • Trevor Dec 2, 2014

    The approval happened on Nov 3rd so it is not new news. AT&T has a spending freeze on most tower construction so there is a possibility they will not get built.

  • Barbara Sossomon Dec 2, 2014
    user avatar

    Either you have a tower, or you have lousy cell service. Take your pick.