Zoning Request for Communications Towers

The Town of Blacksburg Planning Department has received a conditional use permit request to construct three broadcasting or communications towers in the RD Research and Development Zoning District. The property at 1770 Forecast Drive is 14.21 acres but only a portion of the property is needed for the request. The property, the National Weather Service building, currently has several other existing ground-mounted dish and tower antennas adjacent to the building. The 71-foot tower antenna and two dish antennas will be used for atmospheric research and to conduct research for government agencies. A broadcasting or communications tower is not a by-right use in the Research and Development Zoning District therefore a conditional use permit is required. An additional exception is requested for the height of the tower antenna, which is 11 feet taller than the maximum allowable structure height in this zoning district. The tower antenna is telescoping and when stowed is 25-feet tall; when extended it is 71 feet tall. The applicant will add supplemental screening vegetation to the ‘antenna farm’ area to reduce visibility from Research Center Drive. The property is zoned RD Research and Development and the zoning will not change.