Cell tower proposed for Lowgap area

By Tom Joyce

March 30, 2014

A cell phone tower is planned for the Lowgap area — but it will be built only if no problems are identified regarding the site chosen.

The 199-foot monopole telecommunications tower is eyed for 526 Hawks Road, which maps show to be just west of interstates 77 and 74.

Surry County tax books list the owner of the property as Josephine Seal Ayers, who is deceased. The new tower structure would be fitted with standard lighting and the facility would include a 100-foot by 100-foot lease area and associated easements, along with a 30-foot buffer surrounding the lease area.

A Massachusetts-based company, American Towers, is proposing to build the structure. It is listed as an operator and developer of wireless communications towers with more than 14,000 sites in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

However, the erection of the local facility is not set in stone at this point, according to a spokesman for another firm involved.

“The site has not been confirmed or 100-percent chosen,” said Daniel Stallings, project manager for Partner Engineering and Science Inc., of Beaverton, Ore.

“At this point, it’s just a general screening,” Stallings added of the proposal to construct the tower at the location specified. “This hasn’t even gone through planning and zoning yet.”

Stallings explained that his firm handles preliminary notification and exploratory tasks for similar projects around the nation on behalf of American Towers. “They are our client,” he said of Partner Engineering and Science’s consulting role. “They hire us to do these public notices.”

Concerning the Hawks Road site in Surry County, a process is now open for all affected parties to raise concerns or make comments regarding the cell tower proposal. American Towers is seeking input concerning any potential significant impact the proposed action could have on the quality of the human environment in the area.

Such feedback should be limited to environmental and historic/cultural resource impact issues. A concern by Department of Transportation officials that a tower project might be too close to a certain roadway is another example of the type of issue that can arise in such cases, Stallings said.

He did not know how the Lowgap-area site was selected for the project.

Interested persons may comment or raise concerns about the cell tower proposal by submitting an e-mail to, according to the public notice procedure announced for the project. Paper comments can be sent to American Towers LLC, Attn: Environmental Compliance, 10 Presidential Way, Woburn, Mass., 01801.

The information must be received on or before May 26. The invitation to comment is separate from any local planning/zoning process that might apply to the cell tower proposal, the public notice announcement states.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.