Pending approval by the Planning Commission, the monopole at McLean High School could be constructed by the end of July. The monopole will replace an existing light pole on the school grounds and has extensively been studied by community groups and county staff since it was originally proposed several years ago.
The monopole will provide wireless coverage for Cingular and T-Mobile and has the capacity to add carriers if necessary.
Several changes to the monopole have been adapted to reflect community input, such as having the antennas flush-mounted to the pole.
The monopole has also been located closer to the buildings surrounding it to take advantage of existing tree-line screening.
“It’s just a wonderful job they’ve done in trying to make everyone happy,” said Susan Turner, the co-chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee for the McLean Citizens Association.
According to Janet Brown, an attorney representing the client building the monopole, “This still needs to be moved for approval by Planning Commissioner [Nancy] Hopkins and approved by vote of the Planning Commission. After that, we will been to obtain a building permit for construction of the facility.”
BROWN ADDED that “a favorable staff report has been issued,” and the client plans “to start construction when school is out in June and complete by the end of July.”
The monopole, which will be 112.5 feet high (replacing a 90-foot pole), will have lights remounted at the 90-foot height. The extension of the pole is in keeping with the comprehensive plan. That means that as long as the replacement light pole is no more than 25 percent greater in height and diameter than the previous one, it is in keeping with the plan.
Some community members had expressed concern that another pole could be erected on the site in the future. During the McLean Citizens Association Planning and Zoning meeting, one resident said, “It’s just, do we wind up with an antenna farm that outdoes Vint Hill from this?”
Brown countered that her clients have given “a written commitment that Milestone will not be putting another pole on this property. We’re bound by our application, by our word” and a letter sent to an attorney with the West Lewinsville Heights Citizens Association.
“This was very amicably settled,” said Turner.