By Virginia Bridges
South Durham residents fighting a planned cell tower that would be disguised as a pine tree will have another chance to make their case after the Board of Adjustment returned the case to a review panel Tuesday.
An application for the 120-foot-tall tower, which would be located by St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church at 8306 N.C. 751, was submitted on behalf of an engineer who would be developing the tower for the Sprint Nextel Corp.
In general, land-use rules in the city and the county require applications for freestanding concealed towers to be complete and demonstrate that the structure would be compatible with adjacent structures and landscapes. The Development Review Board, an internal review board that approves such towers, determined in June that the application met all the requirements by an 8-1 vote.
On Tuesday Bob Hornick, an attorney for the neighbors, argued that the tower would not be concealed because it would be twice as tall as the church’s buildings and trees. Towers in residential areas that are not concealed as faux trees, flag poles or something else have to go through a different process.
Hornick also argued that the application the review board approved was incomplete and lacked documents showing the service gaps that the new tower would address, as well as alternatives to the proposed tower.
After a nearly two-hour hearing, the Board of Adjustment unanimously voted to send the application back to the Development Review Board for the applicant to provide more information.