Sperryville’s towering telecommunications monopole was barely erected five weeks ago and residents began to express dismay over of its bright “white” color that stood out markedly against the wilderness backdrop of Shenandoah National Park.
Within days of the initial grumblings the Board of Supervisors addressed the odd color, although it was the county government that designated the tower be painted “Sky Blue” in the first place to appease its closest neighbors on Woodward Road who view the monopole looking east into the sky.
“It looks very Sky White,” observed Supervisor Christine Smith at April’s meeting of the BOS, her Piedmont District home to the county’s one-of-a-kind spire.
At which point county Administrator Garrey W. Curry reminded the board that original approval of the steel tower provided for its color to be changed without holding any further public hearings.
“I have opened the discussion with CWS as to how we would go about doing that,” relayed the administrator, referring to Arlington-based Community Wireless Structures, which erected the monopole to support a public safety paging system and equipment for internet and cell service providers.
Now the county has some answers.
“CWS sought three prices,” Curry informs the Rappahannock News. “The lowest cost for the paint product they will accept is $25,555.”
Not too surprising, for as the administrator pointed out, CWS “had to pay $12,000 to have the tower painted in the factory.”
And while public hearings aren’t mandatory before the monopole could be repainted, the county supervisors could choose to seek community input on whether to spend $25,000 plus change on what would be a difficult-to-reach project.
“This is on the agenda for Monday,” Supervisor Smith told the News on Wednesday.
Otherwise, one penny-pinching participant at this newspaper’s late March roundtable with readers in Sperryville suggested that in order to save money and make everybody happy the east side of the tower could be repainted brown or green to blend into the landscape and the west side left sky blue.
As Curry told the supervisors, “Everything’s up for discussion.”