Homeowners in Loudon County concerned over proposed cell tower
LAURA HALM-6 News Reporter

LENOIR CITY (WATE) - Some homeowners are concerned about a proposed cell tower going up next to their neighborhood on Virtue Road in Lenoir City. That is right on the line between Knox and Loudon counties.

"There is no room for a cell tower where we live," said homeowner Kristi Ayres Brackfield.

Verizon is proposing a 180 foot cell tower, roughly 18 stories high, off Virtue Road. Brackfield wanted to see what her 27 acre backyard would look like and to get a better idea, she created before and after pictures.

"They look like they're mini trees, rather look like shrubs next to the 18 story cell tower," said Brackfield.

Based on data trends, Verizon says the tower is something the county needs. Engineers recently determined the new tower would improve data usage in the area.

"I just feel devastated because I feel like they're destroying a legacy that we're leaving for all our families. Not just mine, but the thousands around here because they're going to have that cell tower forever," added Brackfield.

We checked with Loudon County Building and Zoning and learned that area is zoned as suburban residential.

"It is not a permitted use. That's why they're having to go before the Loudon County Board of Zoning appeals to get a special exception to put this on that property," said Nancy Henson with the Loudon County Planning and Codes Office.

Before any final decision is made, the county planner needs to review all the requirements before the meting in August.

"I'm not against the progress of having cell towers and coverage, but we do have cell coverage," said homeowner Sharon Yarbrough.

Since she lives next to the vacant lot where it could be built, she has questions.

"I've asked why and why now," added Yarbrough.

Worried about property values and health risks, these neighbors say they're trying to take things into their own hands.

"Let's not let this cell tower come in our neighborhood. There are many alternative locations," said Brackfield.

Verizon tells us they'll go before the Zoning Board on August 12. Homeowners also say they plan on being at that meeting.