This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, RestonNow.com, and republished with permission.
The county is considering a proposal to bring a new telecommunications facility with a 124-foot monopole and a fenced 91-by-35 foot compound to Herndon High School.
Milestone Communications Inc. is working with Fairfax County Public Schools to build the telecommunications facility on school property and lease space to wireless providers in the county, according to an application accepted by the county on April 4.
If approved, the monopole and compound would sit on the north side of the football field, just west of the visitors’ bleachers and between two existing stadium light poles. Spring antennas will be located on a platform on top of the monopole and a six-foot tall rod will extend from the tower.
It’s not the first time Milestone has worked with FCPS to build a cell tower. The company has similar projects at South Lakes High School, Braddock Elementary School, and Herndon Middle School. Len Forkas, the company’s president said the company is committed to informing the community about the project in a transparent manner.
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“We’re super excited about being able to improve services and we look forward to the whole process to obtain necessary approvals,” Forkas told Reston Now.
The compound area will be closed off by a 10-foot tall chain link fence in an attempt to create “a solid visual barrier,” according to the application. To go forward, the county must rezone land designated for general public use to the proposed public use of telecommunication facilities.
“The proposed use is benign and will not generate noise, light, dust, glare, vibration, fumes or odors. The traffic generated will be very minimal. The proposed use does not present a threat to the public health, safety or welfare and will not impact radio, television or telephone reception. It will have no negative impact upon the air and water quality, nor will it impact any existing environmental features on the subject property,” according to the submission.
Forkas also said football fields are ideal locations for cell towers because they already have tall lights.
The company says the new facility is necessary to boost coverage along Dranesville Road, Wiehle Avenue, the Fairfax County Parkway and residential communities around the high school site. Currently, Sprint’s coverage in the area is “weak,” according to the application. The tower will also accommodate up to five telecommunications carriers.
The administrative office of FCPS has approved the location on the site, according to the application.
A hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission is set for Oct. 2.
Photo of equipment on Lake Braddock High School property via Len Forkas