MATTHEWS, N.C. -- Commissioners in the town of Matthews have taken the first steps toward allowing construction of a cell phone tower on the grounds of a school.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools wants to lease space for the tower at Elizabeth Lane Elementary School. The proposed tower would be 120 feet high.
Matthews has a height limit now of 80 feet.
The proposal presented before commissioners Monday night was to increase the height limit to 120 feet but at the same time require approval from the council for each future application.
“I think the town is protected,” said Mayor James Taylor.
CMS already has cell towers on the grounds of three schools including Quail Hollow, Jay M. Robinson and Providence High School. Another tower has already been approved for Myers Park High School.
CMS is paid $25,000 by the company that puts the first antenna on the tower. Other companies that add antennas later also have to pay a fee.
Some parents have expressed concerns that the tower could collapse and others worry about radiation. CMS said that there is more radiation from holding a phone to your head then there is from the towers.
Dennis LaCaria, the Director of Facilities, Planning and Real Estate said there are also strict codes that must be followed for building the towers.
The commissioners voted 4 to 3 to approve the new height limit at Monday night's meeting.
A public hearing will be held November 11 on the proposal to actually build the tower and a final vote of the Commission will then be taken.