03/25/04 — Radio station seeks tower variance in Mount Olive

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Radio station seeks tower variance in Mount Olive

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 25, 2004 2:03 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A lawyer for the owners of a Mount Olive radio station is drawing up a request for a temporary variance to erect three towers.

Mount Olive Broadcasting's WDJS is at 990 N. Center St., about a mile from the town's airport and inside the airport zone. The existing tower, at 200 feet tall, has been grandfathered into the town's zoning ordinance. The other three, at 159 feet tall, would be in violation of the town's airport zone height restriction.

The town's Board of Adjustments has turned down a request for a conditional use permit to erect the three towers.

They 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.

The owner's son, Jimmy Mayo, said the family has spent more than $20,000 on the tower parts and equipment.

He said it would cost another $20,000 to finish putting up the towers, and the family is losing $8,000 a month by not being able to use them.

The family has agreed to move the radio station before the airport's runway extension is completed, which will take at least another year.

The town doesn't have enough grant money to build it all at one time and plans to extend the runway in three phases.

Meanwhile, the family's lawyer, David Rouse, asked the Airport Committee on Wednesday morning for its support in asking for the temporary variance. The town would set the time limit for the variance.

The Mount Olive Airport Committee asked to see the proposal before voting on giving its support and helping find some federal grant money to help pay for the relocation of the grandfathered tower.

Airport Committee Chairman Bob Quinn said the committee can't help with the expense of moving the other three towers if they're allowed.

Rouse agreed to meet with Town Attorney Carroll Turner and draw up an agreement to bring before the Airport Committee for a vote.

It would probably involve a special called meeting within about 10 days.

Then if the Airport Committee supports the proposal, Turner would go before the Board of Adjustments representing both the town and the airport.

The Mayos have been trying for the past six months to find about six to 10 acres. They have started wading through the red tape, which involves engineer reports and a feasibility study.

This could take a year. The state, then the Federal Aviation Administration, have to approve it.