Construction expected to enhance service in Granville County

Jul. 09, 2013 @ 06:31 PM

OXFORD — Improvements for cellphone use got a boost from Granville County commissioners at Monday’s regularly-scheduled meeting.

Following a public hearing, the board unanimously approved a special use permit for construction of a 199-foot tower. American Tower Corporation made the application. The tower, to be used by AT&T Mobility, will be located on property owned by Gary D. Roberts at 1196 Beaver Dam Road in southern Granville County.

Dave Pokela, a Greensboro attorney, made a presentation on behalf of American Tower Corporation.

“Eighty-five percent of Americans own a cellphone,” he said. “Cellphones are not just for talking anymore.”

Pokela told the board people use their cell phones for texting, downloading apps, online banking, taking pictures and many other functions.

He said American Tower is in the business of constructing towers to rent to wireless providers such as AT&T. Other cellphone service providers could rent space on the tower, but there are no immediate plans for that, he said.

Richard Edwards, of CityScape Consultants, said he had reviewed the application for Granville County and concluded that it meets all requirements.

Commissioner Dave Currin asked Edwards why cellphone service was so poor in northern Granville County.

“You can buy a Verizon phone and take it home and you can’t use it,” he said.

Edwards responded, “Verizon is paying rent on a site that would solve this problem.”

Edwards added he did not know why the company was not developing the site.

Larry Mathiot, government relations manager for CenturyLink, and Larry Liles, area operations manager, briefed the commissioners on the company’s plans for 2013 high speed data expansion.

“By the end of 2013, 95 percent of Granville County customers will have access to high speed data services,” he said.

Two contracts were approved by the board.

Hutchins Construction Company will do work in the county courthouse, including installing a new judge’s bench with accommodations for court clerks; upgrading data, recording and electrical systems; upgrading the holding cell; making the witness and jury areas handicapped accessible; and making improvements to the wall and floor finishes.

Hutchins’ bid of $68,700 was the lowest of eight bids received. The commissioners approved a contingency of 7.5 percent or $5,152, bringing the total possible cost of the project to $73,852.

Summit Design and Engineering will monitor the construction of the asphalt greenway trail. Nine companies responded to the request for applications. Summit was selected, based on the county’s past experience with the company and because the company is involved in several similar projects in the area.

The cost of the contract is not to exceed $50,095.57.

The commissioners cleared the way for development of two solar projects.

Approval was given for a special use permit to Cornwall Solar Center for a solar farm on Landfill Road. The permit had been approved on the condition the company submit a landscaping plan for the property.

The board approved modifications to an agreement made last year with HelioSage to lease 50 acres for a solar farm. HelioSage asked to extend the term from 10 years to 25 years and to include a clean-up of the site by the county.

As a result, the county raised the compensation from $1,000 per acre to a sliding scale that includes $1,500 per acre for each of the first 10 years, rising to $1,800 per acre for each of the last five years of the lease.

Because of the proposed change in the term of the lease, state statute requires the county to advertise for upset bids.

On behalf of the board, Commissioner Ed Mims presented a resolution of appreciation to Bert Glover for his service to the community, Granville County and the nation.

Glover, who is 97 years old, served in the U.S. Army during World War II and continued service to the community as a member of American Legion Hester Crews Post 166 and as a member of Pine Grove Baptist Church and First Baptist Church in Oxford.

“Without a doubt, he puts service before self,” Mims said.

Glover was accompanied by his children, grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The board approved a request by the Veterans Memorial Committee to allow the construction of a veterans memorial on the Granville County Expo and Conference Center property. Cost of the memorial will be supported by private funds.

Frank Strickland, a member of the committee, showed the commissioners an art rendering of the proposed memorial.

“I think it will enhance this facility,” he said.

The board approved the 2013-2014 funding plan, including a grant of $375,802, for the Home and Community Care Block Grant for Older Adults.

The commissioners approved compliance documents for the Community Development Block Grant.

At Monday’s meeting were six rising 10th-graders in the Civic Leadership summer program. Chairman Edgar Smoak acknowledged Marcus Agdeppa, Cassidy Bailey, Lae’Lon Harrison, Lydia Hendrick, Mikayla Hoyle and Danyea Turner.

The group will spend five weeks rotating through county departments to get hands-on experience with government operations.

The board made the following appointments or reappointments:

• Kerr-Tar Private Industry Council/Workforce Development Board: Bobby Talley.

• Granville County Planning Board: Tommy Currin and Catherine Oakley.

• South Granville Memorial Gardens Board of Trustees: James Russell and John Gooch.

• Granville County Board of Social Services: Commissioner Tony Cozart.

The board designated Commissioner Zelodis Jay as a voting delegate to the annual conference of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners.

The board took no action following a closed session.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.