OC Council Extends Cell Tower Permit

OCEAN CITY – A temporary cell tower will continue to operate on Dayton Lane until a permanent installation is approved.

Last week, the Mayor and Council had before them a request to extend a temporary building permit for a T-Mobile cellular tower located at 205 Philadelphia Avenue. Planning and Community Development Director Bill Neville said the one-year extension will give the carrier time to finalize a permanent location on the roof of the Park Place Hotel.

“We’ve tried to work with them over the last several years by extending a temporary permit,” he told the council. “At this point, the council is the only authority that can extend or continue to extend that without that location having to go through a regular site plan approval process.”

In May of 2019, the town approved T-Mobile’s building permit for the installation of a temporary 95-foot-tall cell tower and associated equipment on Dayton Lane, north of 2nd Street. Since that time, however, the Mayor and Council has approved three permit extensions to allow a more permanent installation to be accomplished elsewhere in town.

Neville told the council last week that the T-Mobile’s cellular equipment was initially located on the town’s water tower. Since the water tower was painted, the company has been looking for another permanent location.

“So in previous years they’ve indicated that they were in negotiation for a permanent location on one of our taller buildings, initially the Cambria,” he explained. “The last time they came in to speak with council, they did look at a location on top of the Summer Semester apartment building.”

Neville noted, however, that the company is now working with Park Place Hotel. Until an agreement is reached, he said T-Mobile was requesting a fourth and final one-year extension.

“They are very far along,” he said. “We believe it’s going to be a successful negotiation to locate there.”

Council President Matt James questioned why the company couldn’t reinstall its equipment on the town’s water tower. Neville, however, said there were concerns about the mounting system.

“I think there was a concern that that mounting system at the top of the water tower didn’t meet their industry specs for being able to go back on the top of the tower,” he replied.

While he acknowledged that other carriers currently utilized the water towers, Public Works Director Hal Adkins said many were relocating their equipment to other areas of town.

“I think we have reached the point where we now have one cellular carrier per water tower,” he said. “They have been leaving our facilities and locating at other locations, motel rooftops and things like that.”

After further discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve the one-year permit extension.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.