from City Hall
Hopefully everyone had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July holiday. It should serve to remind us that our government, Federal, State and local, is designed to be “of the people by the people” and what the majority desires; then the majority’s desires must be met. Just such a decision currently faces the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council regarding the placement of a cellular tower on public property to serve the town and surrounding area with reliable cell phone and high speed wireless service.
As you may know, the City Council has been in negotiation with Verizon Wireless for a lease option for a 50ft by 50ft piece of public property between the Riding Club arena and the eastern-most city limit line. Finally, a lease option agreement was signed this spring that would pay the City $500.00 per month for the option to lease this property. This property is located in a Residential B zone which restricts structures to a 35ft maximum height. To construct a cell tower of 120ft in height requires a variance from the zoning rules. At present, the Planning and Zoning Commission has met twice (June and July meetings) to receive and consider testimony regarding this variance. It has been tabled at both meetings to collect further information and collect facts regarding cell phone towers and their placement and operation. When satisfied that all testimony has been received and questions and issues have been explored, the P&Z will make a recommendation to the City Council as to whether to grant or deny the variance request. The Council must then hold a public hearing on the issue and then vote on the issuance or denial of the variance. Denial of the variance would effectively kill the project, terminate the lease option and halt the upgrade of cellular and wireless service for our area.
I touch on this issue because it is an important one for our community and most people assume that it is a “done deal”. It is not. Most people are oblivious to the debate that is taking place and the issues surrounding it. As usual, the rumor mill and misinformation abounds regarding the project. As Mayor, I am committed to the improvement and upgrading of ALL our infrastructure needs but at the same time must remain impartial in this process. It is the desires and needs of the citizens that will decide the outcome of this debate. Please become informed on the FACTS of this issue and let P&Z and the Council know your desires. The next P&Z meeting will be on August 6th at 7:30 pm in the Council Chambers.
Denis B. Duman, Mayor