County supervisors on July 18 approved a permit to build a 135-foot cell tower at Morven Park, clearing the first of two regulatory hurdles for the project.
The proposal, from Invisible Towers, the company founded and owned by Loudoun Communications Commission Chairman Tim Dennis, would put a tower with space for four cell carriers and at least one internet service provider inside a roughly 60-foot by 50-foot fenced-off area in a northeastern part of the park, near the equestrian center, Rt. 15 and Tutt Lane.
Sheryl Williams, executive director and CEO of the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation which owns and operates the historic estate, wrote a letter supporting the project. According to Williams’ letter, the park relies on wireless service for internet and phone service, transmitted from a tower on the roof of the Leesburg Home Depot nearby.
However, as the trees at Morven Park have grown, that tower has been made taller, reaching its maximum height as the trees continued to grow into the tower’s line-of-sight with the park. Last fall, she wrote, service at Morven Park’s Equestrian Center was impacted, and half of the park no longer has internet access.
She wrote installing the tower would fix both the park’s problems and improve service for people along Rt. 15 nearby.
Supervisors ratified a commission permit, a decision made by the Planning Commission on which the board has 60 days to act before it is automatically upheld. The proposal also needs approval of a special exception to zoning rules; supervisors will vote on that application September 11.
The park is the former home of Westmoreland Davis, who was governor of Virginia from 1918 to 1922.