MEMO TO: Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM: Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT: Special Use Permit Request – Wireless Telecommunications Tower (100 ft. monopole), 9202 Coast Guard Road - Summary & Suggested Motions

The Board is scheduled to consider a special use permit (SUP) request that would allow Carteret Craven Electric Cooperative (CCEC) to install a new, 100 ft. monopole wireless telecommunications tower at their substation facility located at 9202 Coast Guard Road.  The new monopole tower would replace an existing 65 ft. pole, and would enable better remote communication between the CCEC headquarters on NC 24 in Newport and electric system infrastructure and customer meters in Emerald Isle.  A public hearing is required before Board consideration of the special use permit request, and has been scheduled for the October 11 meeting. 

The attached memo from Josh Edmondson, Town Planner, includes a detailed explanation of CCEC’s special use permit request and the Town’s numerous requirements for wireless telecommunications towers.  The SUP application from CCEC is also attached, and includes illustrative photos that depict the appearance of the proposed new monopole tower.  The new monopole tower would be located in the center of the substation property, and is exactly 100 ft. from all property lines.  As noted by Josh Edmondson, we considered approving the new monopole tower administratively as a public utility feature, which is a permitted use by right.  Because of the general sensitivity in our community regarding tall structures, and because of the intent behind the Town’s wireless telecommunications tower ordinance, we ultimately decided to process CCEC’s request as a special use permit and present it to the Board of Commissioners for formal consideration.

Special use permits must be considered using a quasi-judicial process, and the Board must determine that the applicant meets certain criteria aimed at protecting the public’s health, safety, and welfare, not harm property values, and not harm the general character of the neighborhood.  A summary of the SUP process is attached for the Board’s review.  As noted on the attached zoning map, the immediately adjacent property is zoned Government (assuming approval of a proposed rezoning of the Bogue Banks Water Corporation property to Government, also on the October 11 meeting agenda).  Bell Cove Village Shopping Center, located across a private street is zoned Business, while Residential-2 zoning is located across Coast Guard Road.  Osprey Ridge Townhomes are located slightly west, and that property is zoned Residential Multi-Family.

The Town’s wireless telecommunications tower ordinance encourages co-location of wireless telecommunications equipment on the existing Bogue Banks water tanks if possible.  In this instance, CCEC has indicated that co-location on the Coast Guard Road water tank is not feasible, and is thus seeking the SUP for the proposed monopole tower.  It should also be noted that the proposed monopole tower is only slightly taller than the existing electric distribution poles along NC 58 all throughout Emerald Isle.  CCEC has indicated that those poles are approximately 90 feet tall.   

CCEC previously notified nearby property owners about the proposed monopole tower, and the Town also mailed notices of the October 11 public hearing to nearby property owners.  Appropriate advertisements and signs informing the public about the October 11 public hearing have also been placed.

Josh Edmondson will be available to answer any questions at the October 11 meeting.  Craig Conrad, CCEC General Manager, and Jake Joplin, VP of Engineering and Operations, will also attend.