City Board of Zoning Appeals rejects proposed cell phone tower - - Columbia, South Carolina |

City Board of Zoning Appeals rejects proposed cell phone tower

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After receiving a considerable amount of heat from local neighborhood associations, a plan to build a cell phone tower disguised as a flag pole at the corner Main and Elmwood streets was rejected.

The city Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-2 against the plan because of issues with the tower's "aesthetics, scale, and height."

The proposal came from Clear Talk, the cell phone company headquartered at that same intersection. The company's execs wanted to improve coverage by building a 90 foot structure right on the corner.

"All the antennas are going to be located inside the pole and you know there's a nice ball on top like you see on every flag pole and we fly the American flag," said Clear Talk representative Mike Feigenbaum.

Main and Elmwood is close to fast food restaurants and two of the city's homeless service centers.

It is also several blocks from some of Columbia's oldest neighborhoods, Elmwood Park and Cottontown. But neighborhood leaders believe a new cell tower could still harm the aesthetics of the area.

"It's where the streetscaping was done," said Ellen Cooper of the Cottontown-Bellvue Neighborhood Association. "And all of the big poles with the wires and that kind of thing were all put underground. So what are we going to do now? We're going to put up an even bigger tower than the ones we took down."

"I really can't see anything that's more historic and more aesthetically pleasing than the American flag flying on a flag pole," said Feigenbaum.

Clear Talk will now have to go back to the drawing board and find a new spot for the tower.

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