Cell phone towers may be coming to Winston-Salem neighborhoods

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The City-County Planning Board voted to wait 30 days before making a decision on allowing cell phone towers in residential areas.

AT&T and the American Tower Company are asking the city county planning board to change its ordinance, allowing them to ask permission to put up towers in neighborhoods.

"Consumers are relying on their wireless devices today for communications, shopping, and accessing information, and will rely on them even more in the future," said Clifton Metcalf with AT&T. "To meet consumers’ demands for reliable connections, better mobile coverage and faster mobile speeds, wireless carriers must erect various types of antennas in multiple locations."

If passed, cell phone companies would be allowed to put towers up in some residential areas, though concealed. One example of a concealed tower shown to board members looked like a pine tree. In other residential areas cell phone companies would be allowed to put up towers near neighborhoods like at a church or school.

"I think this is an issue that is so complex that people need an opportunity to understand how it would affect them," said resident Melynda Dunigan who believes many residents have no idea about the ordnance request.  She wants the planning board to allow more public input before any tower is approved. "There needs to be some kind of public process initiated by the planning department rather than AT&T."


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