Pinewood Heights’ planned Verizon tower in limbo

Published 9:06 am Friday, August 4, 2023

Last year’s plans to put a Verizon tower in the Pinewood Heights neighborhood behind the Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant remain in limbo.

Sites Unlimited Inc. contacted Smithfield town officials last fall about building a nearly 200-foot tower on two Jamestown Avenue parcels. The town has been working with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for years to convert the former residential neighborhood into an industrial park.

Town Manager Michael Stallings said as of mid-July the town had not received anything from Sites Unlimited concerning its proposal since last November. To make the plan a reality, the company would need to apply for a special use permit.

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The tower, as proposed last year, would be a 195-foot monopole, surrounded by a 6,400-square-foot fence, and would include a 4-foot lightning rod for a total of 199 feet – just under the 200-foot threshold where the Federal Aviation Administration would require the tower to be lighted at night to warn passing aircraft.

Smithfield’s zoning ordinance requires the base of the tower to be at least 99 ½  feet back from any property line or any adjacent non-residential structure, unless the Town Council grants a waiver.

Verizon, as of last year, was proposing a five-year lease with the option of four five-year renewals at a rate of $800 per month with a 1.5% increase each year. Town staff estimated at the time that the payment would bring just under $50,000 to Smithfield in rent at the conclusion of the first five-year period.