03/07/04 — Radio station seeks waiver for towers

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Radio station seeks waiver for towers

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 7, 2004 2:02 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The town's Board of Adjustments will hear a request for a conditional use permit to erect three radio transmission towers about a mile from the airport runway.

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the conference room at Town Hall.

Mount Olive Broadcasting is in the town's airport zone. The owner, Ann Mayo, wants the permit to erect the 159-foot-tall towers at 990 N. Center St. The existing tower is 200 feet high. Adding the towers would increase transmission to 10,000 watts and expand the station's coverage area. This would enable the station to charge for more air time, said the owner's son, Jimmy Mayo.

Mayo said the family has spent more than $20,000 on the tower parts and related equipment. To finish putting up the towers, he said, it would cost another $20,000, "and now, we can't use our investment. We're losing thousands of dollars a month. We charge $50 for a half-hour church broadcast, and we can't expand."

Mayo said Town Manager Ray McDonald told him a year ago he could put up the towers. He said he had told McDonald the towers would be 40 feet shorter than the existing one. But he said McDonald told him when he started putting them up that they were taller than he had expected. The town issued a stop order.

The town plans to extend the runway at the airport. An addition at the end facing the radio station would require the station to move a few miles either way to get it out of the path of the runway.

Mayo said the family has agreed to move the radio station. But he said the town has chosen places unsuitable to the family like next to the sewage treatment plant.

He said moving would cost the station $300,000, and it would take another year to get federal clearance for a new place to put the towers "even if we had the land and agreed to move there."