Illegal Cell Tower? Bethany Beach Residents Demand AT&T To Shut - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Illegal Cell Tower? Bethany Beach Residents Demand AT&T To Shut It Down

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BETHANY BEACH, Del. - A cell-tower in Bethany Beach stands at the center of a heated dispute.

It's 60 feet of wood, which dozens of residents say must come down now. It's still in service and has been for the past five years.

But according to the county and , the last three years it's been operating against the law.

Barbara Gerk and her husband are full-time residents of Bethany Beach. Gerk says she moved to the area to retire, calling it a "quiet resort."

But the quiet has been replaced with public outcry.

For the better part of five years, the Gerks and 45 other homeowners at Sea Pines have been fighting to bring down the tower. They say it's an eyesore, hurting the prices of homes.

"No one wants to open the window and go on vacation and see a cell tower," said Gerk.

Their case began back in 2009 after the Sussex County Board of Adjustment first approved a special use exception for AT&T to build a 100 foot metal tower. In the meantime, a shorter, temporary tower went up.

Homeowners filed an appeal.

Then in 2010, the Superior Court of Delaware reversed the county's decision asking them to rework the application. A few months later, the county denied the telecommunication giant's request, writing a violation notice to vacate the property.

But AT&T didn't leave despite continued appeals with the most recent denial coming in December 2013.

"It's a daily thing because every time you walk out your door and you look at it you think, 'oh my goodness when is this going to end?" homeowner Robert Jackson said.

"They've been denied the special use exception for this tower," said Gerk. "Remove the tower and abide by the law."

The case is still tied down in courts with the tower allowed to stand tall in the skyline. The county confirmed that it has two cases pending: including forcing AT&T to remove the tower.

But officials couldn't make any comments because of on-going litigation.

47 ABC reached out AT&T on Monday for comment, but as of 6:45 PM, our calls went unreturned.

The Board of Adjustment's last vote was close: 3 to 2 against the proposal.

According to the county there is a law which states a communication tower like the one in Bethany Beach must file an exception to be within 500 feet of any residentially zoned area.

A law that tower is apparently in violation of.

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