The Virginia General Assembly is considering House Bill 883, which will make it easier for applicants to construct Cell Towers around local communities. Currently, in Caroline County, all cell tower construction occurs by special exception and with a great deal of respect for the impact of each tower on neighboring properties and communities. HB 883 looks to ease county oversight, speed up the process for application and appeal, and to ensure more towers in more places.
Cell Towers are fantastic. I wish I had a cell tower near by, in your backyard, so long as I don’t have to see it, and insofar as it doesn’t impact my property. I’m sure you probably feel the same. Which is why Caroline County spends a great deal of time investigating proposed plans for cell towers and considers it’s total impact before making a decision.
HB 883 appears to give localities only 60 days to do a review. We’re talking about the span of merely 3 Board of Supervisors meetings. This dramatically limits the time the county has to investigate impact, speak to local residents and property owners, etc.
The General Assembly has removed absolute proffer authority from localities, they are taking away zoning authority, they are looking to build as many cell towers as possible (which I understand), but with no respect for people living in planned locations, and they are looking to restrict localities ability to raise revenue on business activities through fees (forcing localities to raise property taxes). We can’t even write local bills to force property owners to maintain their property beside local businesses. Every day the General Assembly takes more and more authority away from local government, while the Federal Government takes more and more authority away from the States.
Every day our elected representatives become lose more and more authority to represent us. When and where does it end?
It ends when the State of Virginia decides everything for Caroline County, while making us pay higher taxes to cover the costs. This entire legislative session seems aimed at taking away authority from the localities, but ensuring local residents pay higher taxes. We’ll watch this all play out, but when Caroline County is forced to raise taxes, our wrath should be directed at the General Assembly and not the county itself.