Founded 353 years ago, the City of Charleston, SC, is one of America’s most beautifully preserved architectural and historical treasures.
It boasts the first public college, museum, and playhouse in the U.S., and unfortunately, as The Post and Courier has labeled it, the first “toilet paper tower” that has become a “prominent and regrettable Charleston landmark.”
The publication’s editorial excoriated the erection of a 116-foot monopole constructed off Line Street by SBA Communications Corp., according to the FCC’s database, and was recently replaced with a broader monopole.
Although the increased diameter isn’t unappealing, SBA installed three giant shrouds.
Often, residents who are not enamored with having a new tower near their home will use pejorative descriptions such as monopines being nothing more than a bottle brush on steroids.
So, when The Post and Courier said the antennae coverings were unsightly, were they accurate? Yes. There is probably no better description than three rolls of toilet paper on a tower competing with the city’s historical steeples. The editorial said it was a “prominent and regrettable” Charleston landmark.
According to the newspaper, Charleston City Attorney Julia Copeland said “the old pole would overheat; the new design, despite it’s odd appearance, allows greater airflow and protects the tower’s components.”
Federal law states that a state or local government may not deny and shall approve any eligible facility request to modify an existing wireless tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station.
Congress enacted and revised section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act of 2012 to streamline State and local government review of requests to modify existing wireless structures.
In part, it states if an appurtenance protrudes from the edge of the structure more than 6 feet, that would be considered substantial, but the Charleston stealth monopole’s shrouds appear to be within that limitation.
The tower is erected Near I-26 outside Charleston’s National Landmark District, between Meeting and King north of Line.
“That’s yet another reason for the city to enlarge its district. Doing so could help protect its gateways from further unsightly additions,” The Post and Courier editorial said.
“Cities, especially those with historic districts, should have more power to ensure that the location and appearance of these towers do the least visual harm. We all want good cell service, and many of us stream our television programming these days, but we don’t accept the idea that we should just get out of the way and let this relatively new industry do whatever it wants just because it’s new and it can. We encourage Mayor John Tecklenburg to join with other mayors to press this point with the feds,” the newspaper’s editorial said.