The Fairfax County School Board effectively killed a plan by to construct a monopole at Mount Vernon High School during its Oct. 19 meeting.
The board voted 6-5 to defer the decision indefinitely on a motion by Dan Storck (Mount Vernon).
“There is a clear need,” Storck said, “but there are other options in the community that I don’t believe Smartpole has considered.”
The plan would have removed an existing 55-foot light pole on a baseball field at the school and replaced it with a 69-foot pole. The lights would have been re-installed at their current height. Additionally, a telecommunications equipment building would have been built at the base of the pole.
Smartpole, the company which proposed the pole, would have paid rent to the school system for the space.
The plan split the community around the school. Some opposed the pole saying it, and its equipment shed, would have been an eyesore and taken away from field space.
Those in favor noted the generally poor cell phone reception in the area and questioned the extent of the impact that the pole would have.
Board member Kay Kory (Mason) had made a motion that the board approve the pole prior to Storck’s proposal to defer the decision indefinitely. The board did not vote on Kory’s motion.
This upset some board members. Tessie Wilson (Braddock) said that the school’s reputation as a business partner is at stake. She said that they owed the company an actual decision on the pole, instead of the limbo of an indefinite deferral.
“Let’s vote on the main motion, not on a procedural motion,” she said.
“I would have preferred to finish that issue,” said board member Steve Hunt (at large). “We’ve left the vendor just sort of hanging.”
Voting in favor of the indefinite deferral were Board Members Storck, Kory, Cathy Belter (Springfield), Brad Center (Lee) Ilryoung Moon (at large) and Janet Olesczek (at large).
Opposed to the deferral were Hunt, Wilson, Phil Niedzielski-Eichner (Providence), Jane Strauss (Dranesville) and Cathy Smith (Sully).