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Gold Hill residents happy that cellphone tower approved

SALISBURY – Gold Hill resident Tom Whitt often has to step into his front yard for good reception of a phone call.

But there might be some relief for him and others after a vote this week by the Rowan County commissioners.

Real Estate company Faulk and Foster on Monday received approval for a conditional-use permit on behalf of Verizon Wireless to construct a 195-foot “wireless and support structure” at the corner of St. Peters Church Road and Hill Road in Gold Hill.

According to Assistant Planning Director Shane Stewart, the current timeline for construction is unknown. Construction hasn’t started on the structure, which will be equipped with a 4-foot lightning rod.

But the need for the cellphone tower is clear.

County documents said the applicant deemed the tower as necessary because of increased usage and exhaustion of capacity, and that the tower will vastly improve cellphone coverage east of Rockwell and north of Gold Hill, along Liberty Road.

“I think the board did the best with what was presented as a need,” Stewart said.

Vivian Hopkins and Whitt, both Verizon customers and residents of Gold Hill, told the Post about their concerns and frustrations with poor reception. They are relieved that the new tower was approved.

“All over the eastern part of the county, the cellular service is horrible,” Hopkins said. “I have horrible reception through Verizon while traveling through the Gold Hill community. There are some regions in the area where I get nothing, and a lot of neighbors that I know have no cellphone service in that area.”

She said she often runs into poor reception and dropped calls on streets near where the new tower is being built.

“It gets difficult if you’re out on the road and you’re depending on your cellphone to get in touch with someone,” Hopkins said.

Whitt said he’s been fighting for a new tower for a long time.

“It will be of great benefit because I am not the only one without service. There are a lot of people,” said Whitt, whose call was dropped during a phone interview with the Post. “If something were to happen inside of my home, I would be forced to go outside to even make a phone call.”

Hopkins said her calls often drop when she is taking care of business, too.

“I do a lot of volunteer work in the region and a lot of times, when you try to get something done or conduct a phone call, the call dies in mid-conversation,” she said.

Hopkins offered words of gratitude for the new Verizon tower.

“I was excited when I found that the tower was being built because it might help us in that region,” she said.

And Whitt says it’s not just his phone that has problems.

“I’ve had friends over with ‘high dollar phones,’ and they get nothing either, not one bar,” Whitt said.

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