Data pole rule change considered

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Nov 17, 2010 - 04:44 PM

The Mathews County Board of Supervisors has asked the planning commission to consider an amendment to the zoning ordinance that would allow installation of data poles for wireless internet as close as five feet from property lines.

During Tuesday afternoon’s meeting in the historic courthouse, planning director John Shaw explained that the telecommunications facilities article adopted by the board in September included a provision requiring that data poles be located a minimum of 50 feet from side and rear yard lot lines to make sure the poles were located an appropriate distance from the adjoining properties.

But the wireless company Northern Neck WiFi has had to place all three of the data poles it has installed in Mathews in the middle of a property, said Shaw, which has created access problems. The heavy equipment used to install and maintain the poles can’t readily access areas that aren’t served by a driveway because of the potential of getting stuck, he said.

This could limit the number of poles that could be installed, thereby limiting wireless access in the county.

"We’re putting up roadblocks for people who would like to provide service," he said.