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Board of Zoning Appeals - June15.

Rejects cell tower construction
Pat Jones

There were two items of interest at the June 15 Board of Zoning-Appeals meeting. The most alarming was the statement by one of the board members that it "was dangerous to consider what is five years out". If this comment is typical of the views of board members, we are in trouble! Fortunately it isn't, but such statements do not help the credibility of the board or induce confidence in its members.

The quoted comment was made in relation to an application for construction of a 100ft. cell tower on Line Street, between Meeting and King. The applicants have been working with the city for 36 months on this application. Their representative said that they were not trying to win a popularity contest for they recognized cell tower builders were not loved. The ordinance allow towers visible from a property listed in the National Register of Historic Places to receive a special exception. That "special exception" exists when there are "too many Historic sites" they said, making it impossible to place a tower and meet all the requirements. Obviously one would be able to see the tower from historic buildings to the south of Line Street.

Board member Russell Rosen commented as to the unfortunate timing for the requested cell tower. He suggested that this area, which is in transition, could be a thriving residential area in 5 years time and smack in the middle of it would be this cell tower. Mr. Clements, possible developer of the Neck area, was equally concerned.

The tower will serve only three of the six existing cell phone companies. If the tower were allowed, would the other three companies be encouraged to demand equal treatment, a board member asked? The answer was probably no, for the representative stated it was possible, with certain adjustments, for all six companies to use the tower proposed. The other three companies apparently have no problem providing service to the area in question, i.e. their existing towers are capable. The question remains if it is possible for all to share the 100 ft tower proposed, why then is it not possible to share the existing towers? The concerns of Mr.Russell Rosen, who thankfully was thinking about the future, and those of the residents who spoke out against the tower, would then be addressed.

And as it turned out, the majority of board members were also concerned about what the situation might be five years out. They voted against the proposal.

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