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3/5/2010
Board of Adjustment approves permit for radio tower - Community News

By Adam Zewe
Community News
Posted Mar 05, 2010 @ 12:11 PM
New Castle, Del. —

The Board of Adjustment liked what they heard from Delmarva Broadcasting and gave the WSTW/WDEL owner the green light to build a 495-foot radio tower on its Brandywine Hundred property.

The board approved a special use permit allowing the broadcaster to build the tower in the center of four existing radio towers at the Shipley Road site.

The new tower will replace the main antenna for WSTW, which was destroyed by lightning this fall, and allow the broadcaster to provide digital radio for the Delaware Valley, said Mike Reath, the station’s general manager.

WSTW is using a temporary antenna that has reduced the station’s reach and forces the broadcaster to shut down WSTW and WDEL to perform maintenance, he said.

The new tower will help the station remain competitive against larger broadcasters from Philadelphia that are moving into the Delaware market, Reath said.

But John and Melissa Augustine, who live near the Shipley Road property, are worried a 495-foot radio could mar the view from their windows.

“Our concern is the visual impact on the property values in the surrounding neighborhoods,” John Augustine said.

The Augustines were the only residents to speak in opposition to the plan at the Board of Adjustment's February 25 meeting.

R.J. Miles, a representative of the Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred, said he is in favor of the new tower.

Miles is hopeful the new tower could serve as a co-location point for a cell phone provider, improving that part of Brandywine Hundred’s notoriously spotty service.

“This just seems to be an overwhelming opportunity for the community to benefit and for businesses to benefit,” he said.

Reath said the tower could serve as a co-location site and two cell phone companies have already approached Delmarva Broadcasting about co-locating on the tower.

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