Frederick Aldermen Want Questions Answered Before Deciding On Monopole Plan

The structure is planned for a site along Butterfly Lane.


Frederick, Md (KM). Some questions need to be answered before the Frederick Board of Aldermen decide on plans to build a 121-foot tall monopole at 6262 Butterfly Lane. The new tower would lease space to cell phone companies. The site contains a 140-foot high water tower which already releases space to AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. T-Mobile and Sprint recently merged.

During a workshop on Wednesday, Alderwoman Kelly Russell asked why the monopole couldn’t’ be placed at a site on the Hargett Farm Property which is across the street. “Why are we looking at putting in this particular site where we;re hoping to take down a bit of a visual eyesore,” she said.

“We would just have to vet it  with AT&T and T-Mobile to make sure  the location still works with them,” said Chris Harold with Milestone Communications, which wants to build the monopole. “If that’s a location that’s owned by the city, we can take a look at that.”

The city is constructing a new water tank across from the current water tower, which is expected to be decommissioned early in 2021.

Alderman Ben MacShane had a question about the old tower once it’s taken out of service. “Why can’t the existing infrastructure stay on the existing tower,” he asked. “If we need to replace the existing now-insufficient for water use tower, is there a reason that that tower can’t continue to hold  communications infrastructure.”

“We would have to put additional capital spent into this infrastructure to even keep it,” responded Ron Wingfield, a project Manager for the City’s Department of Public Works. “And we would have maintenance costs  with that moving forward.”

Milestone Communications plans to build the monopole, and lease out the space to wireless carriers. That’s expected to bring between $25,000 to $50,000 annually to the City, which would commit a minimal amount of resources, according to the backup materials from Wednesday’s workshop.

Alderwoman Russell suggested the city talk with the county on sharing space on the new monopole, and taking down the one at Hill Street Park. “In my mind, before we would build another tower, it makes sense to me to understand if it could be mounted on this existing pole so we’re not adding another tower out there,” she said.

City Public Works Director Zach Kershner said he will talk about that with the County Director of Emergency Management, Jack Markey. “There’s obviously costs associated with that to relocate all their equipment. So we’ll go back to take to him about what those costs will be,” Kershner said.

The County erected that monopole to improve emergency communications.

Alderwoman Russell said the residents near Hill Street Park are unhappy with the tower, calling it a “middle finger to the neighborhood.”

This issue is expected to come before the Board of Aldermen in the future.


By Kevin McManus