Washington Gas officials want to put a 145-foot telecommunications tower on the edge of White Flint, sparking concern the structure would be an eyesore among the new apartment buildings, hotels and office buildings planned for the area.
News of the plan was delivered at the April 8 meeting of the White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee, according to the Friends of White Flint. A Washington Gas representative did not return requests for comment on the tower.
Marjorie Williams, chair of the county’s Tower Committee, said that as of last week the proposal had yet to make its way to her desk.
The Tower Committee would decide if there’s a need for the tower in terms of providing better communications to government agencies. It would also provide an engineering review of the tower. The county’s Board of Appeals would decide on an approval of the tower through the special exception process with a recommendation or non-recommendation from the Tower Committee.
According to the Friends of White Flint, a nonprofit group of residents who want to see the mixed-use development prescribed in the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, Washington Gas wants to put the tower on its Nebel Street property.
That property includes offices and a yard of trucks and equipment in an industrially zoned area. Across the street, construction continues on the Aurora, an 18-story, 341-unit apartment building two blocks east of Rockville Pike. Nearby, a Harris Teeter grocery store opened in 2008 at Old Georgetown Road and Citadel Avenue. Developer LCOR will build 280,000 square feet of retail, a 320-room Westin hotel and a wishbone suspension bridge over the White Flint Metro Station platform between Citadel Avenue and Rockville Pike.
The tower would allow Washington Gas to more efficiently track emergencies. But it would also let two cellular carriers share the tower. That led to some skepticism from attendees of the meeting.