27 June 2006 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 9 comments

Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to post anything today….

However, I couldn’t resist this. After the horrible news about Hunterstown, it’s nice to be able to bring you some good battlefield preservation news. From the Charlottesville Daily Progress newspaper:

Battlefield quashed as cell tower site

By Megan Rowe / Daily Progress staff writer
June 26, 2006

TREVILIANS – To Steward Hottinger, the offer from Community Wireless Structures III LLC sounded promising.

The company was going to pay him an increasing sum during the next 35 years to build a 199-foot-tall cell phone tower on a stretch of his property off Louisa Road.

The first year, he and his wife, Mary, would have gotten $14,400. Eventually, the amount would have been about $33,311. The 75-year-olds hoped the money would help their three children and six grandchildren.

But the tower never became a reality for the Hottingers. Turns out the property that looked so promising to Community Wireless was also home to a bloody Civil War battle.

Roughly 1,700 soldiers died in the Battle of Trevilian Station, which was fought on the property now owned by Hottinger. Although the property is already home to two electrical poles, Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation members were concerned that the higher cell phone tower would be more noticeable. Hottinger’s property is located near the battlefield foundation’s property, but “nothing on that side of the road is owned by them,” he said.

Members of the battlefield foundation did not want to comment.

The proposal “went to a neighborhood meeting,” Louisa County Director of Community Development Darren Coffey said. “It got lambasted in the neighborhood meeting, and it got withdrawn before it ever made it to the development review committee.”

The development review committee is a Planning Commission subcommittee that makes recommendations before the proposal goes before the Planning Commission, Coffey explained. Then applications go before the county’s Board of Supervisors.

Tam Murray, a managing member of Community Wireless, said the company is instead pursuing a site on Poindexter Road and is discussing coverage with Cingular and T-Mobile.

“We want to develop a site in that vicinity that provides coverage to the carriers,” he said. “It just seemed to make sense to pursue a different site, given the controversial nature of that location.”

But Dovetail Cultural Resource Group LLC disagreed with the battlefield foundation’s concerns. The group did a cultural resource survey and noted that “the tower will be difficult to see from the critical points of the battlefield.”

Such concerns aren’t uncommon, though. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources must evaluate all potential cell phone towers and forward a recommendation to the Federal Communications Commission, said Ethel Eaton, who manages DHR’s office of review and compliance.

The DHR decides if the tower will affect historic property and if so, whether it will have an adverse effect.

“It’s a decision of the federal agency whether they want to go forward with the adverse effect or not,” Eaton added. “Obviously, we would protest a little if they decided to tear down Monticello to build a tower, but we only have three choices to give.”

While the county currently doesn’t require a DHR recommendation before applications go to the development review committee, “I think as the zoning administrator, I’m going to start requiring it,” Coffey said. “I think from the county’s standpoint, we want them to have all their ducks in a row before they submit it.”

Parts of Trevilians are cell phone dead zones. But “sticking a 199-foot tower on historic property isn’t the way to do it,” Coffey added.

Steward Hottinger, however, is still upset that he will not get the additional income from the tower. “Anything historical seems to have more power than common sense.”

“We don’t get a pension,” added Hottinger, who used to do vehicle body work. “Our whole life has been here. … We’ve made a living. I’m not complaining about that. But this would’ve been a nice little income for us.”

Contact Megan Rowe at (434) 978-7267 or mrowe@dailyprogress.com.

This tower would have been placed pretty much right in the center of the first day’s battlefield at Trevilian Station. Much of the land in this sector of the battlefield is pristine, so having a hideous cellular tower there would really have been a blight on an otherwise beautiful battlefield. Good riddance, if you ask me.

While it’s certainly not on the scale of the catastrophe at Hunterstown, every little preservation like this one helps……

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Lanny
    Wed 28th Jun 2006 at 10:07 am

    Eric,
    This morning I began my day looking at my AOL and found they were talking about vacation spots. I clicked and found that among those spots was Gettysburg. Click. Found the Gettysburg spot that AOL has created and they had “blogs” of which they listed three. Congratulations old man, you made the list. Check out http://cityguide.aol.com/harrisburg-vacations/main.adp.
    Lanny

  2. Brian S.
    Wed 28th Jun 2006 at 11:01 am

    I love how the company did a “cultural resource survey” that said you coudn’t see a 200 Foot tower! 🙂 you would have been able to spot it anywhere, and at night it would have had about 30 blinking lights so airplanes wouldn’t crash into it. As you said, a small victory, but it’s nice to see that the local folks are aware of their history.

  3. Wed 28th Jun 2006 at 12:53 pm

    Lanny,

    That’s exciting news. Unfortunately, the link you provided doesn’t work. Can you please double-check it for me?

    Thanks.

    Eric

  4. Wed 28th Jun 2006 at 12:53 pm

    Brian,

    I agree. Any victory–small or otherwise–is a good one.

    Eric

  5. Lanny
    Wed 28th Jun 2006 at 1:36 pm

    Dear General,
    I respectfully submit a corrected report. “I was wrong” is one of the 10 three word sentences my wife told me I could tell her anything. Try http:cityguide.aol.com/harrisburg/gettysburg-vacations/main.adp. I hope this address works.
    Your obedient servant,
    Lanny

  6. Randy Sauls
    Wed 28th Jun 2006 at 2:21 pm

    Eric:

    That’s more like it! You know, I sort of thought we were through with towers after the Gettysburg implosion a few years ago, but I hadn’t considered cell towers. I guess the cell tower people thought no one would notice this one; after all, it wasn’t even 200 feet tall! Very good news!

    Randy

  7. Wed 28th Jun 2006 at 2:23 pm

    Very cool indeed, Lanny. Thanks!

    Eric

  8. Wed 28th Jun 2006 at 2:25 pm

    Randy,

    Indeed it is.

    Eric

  9. Kevin Barile
    Sat 17th Mar 2007 at 7:07 am

    If you want towers to go away…stop hitting “send”.

    If you do not hit “send” – there is no need for a tower.

    It is you using your cell phone that creates the demand for towers.

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