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WATER TANKS, TOWERS CREATING NEW SKYLINE

WATER TANKS, TOWERS CREATING NEW SKYLINE

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But not the kind most folks want.

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You can, too, fight City Hall. And win. At least some people can some of the time. But what about the others the rest of the time?

When the Greensboro City Council succumbed to residential neighborhood pressure Tuesday night and rejected a Muirs Chapel Road site for a new water storage tank, the council made a lot of people in the Hamilton Lakes area happy. But just wait. The tower will go up somewhere inside the city and, when it does, someone else is going to be unhappy.The question then will be whether people in the next neighborhood will be as many or as influential as those in the generally affluent Hamilton Lakes area.

The city council voted 8 to 1 earlier this year to pay $99,000 for the roughly one-acre tract at Muirs Chapel and Tower roads, specifically for the planned 1.5 million gallon water storage tank. In order to prevent another water pressure loss this summer, the city is committed to building three new storage tanks. One is in use near the airport, a red and white checkerboard structure that would never win any aesthetic awards. One is under construction on Groometown Road, set to be in service by June. The third was to be the Muirs Chapel site.

Hamilton Lakes residents objected. Some 40 of them showed up at Tuesday's council meeting to protest, but the council had already heard from enough opponents and voted to reject the location. ``It was a very desirable site,' city utilities director Ray Shaw said. ``But to expect to be able to put up something like this without making somebody unhappy is not realistic. It'll happen at the next site we choose, too.' Shaw said the council anticipated objections, but not of the magnitude received.

The 160 to 190-foot tall tank will likely go on West Market Street site near Guilford Mills. If so, it will require relocation of two families, unless the city can secure space on land owned by the mill. The Muirs Chapel site rejection will delay construction and increase costs because the Market Street location being considered is some $70,000 more expensive. Shaw says the city can easily sell the Muirs Chapel site and not lose any of the purchase price.

Water towers, however, aren't the only things popping up around Greensboro along with spring flowers. Cellular phone towers are soaring, literally, with the growing cell phone market. The city is planning on turning at least one tower site into a money-maker.

Phone towers have been erected in the recent months just off Battleground, beside Highway 220 north at Old Battleground and on Church Street on private property. Twenty-four towers have gone up in the last 18 months.

The city has contracted with Bell South for a tower site to be put on the city-owned Police Club property on Air Harbor Road just outside the city limit. The tower is permitted under zoning codes. BellSouth will pay the city $60,000 in a lump sum and $20,000 a year in lease payments to put a tower on the city-owned police club property.

Residents near the police club learned of the cell tower in recent days. But so far it doesn't appear they will have the good fortune of the Hamilton Lakes residents. The city's contract with Bell South, according to Eric Combs at City Hall, is all but a done deal.

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