Ain’t Gonna Budge: Verizon Stands Firm on OK’d Tower Location

Verizon Wireless is constructing an 80-foot, evergreen-shaped camouflaged tower in a neighborhood park. It was approved by a unanimous council vote, but now city officials want a compromise. The Columbus Telegram reported officials agreed to ask Verizon to move the tower to the center of the park, further away from houses, schools, a daycare, and busy streets.

But Verizon is not negotiating, according to the account. In an email to the Interim City Administrator, the telecom company wrote, “Verizon is committed to following all local, state and federal regulations when building a new cell site. Verizon will continue to move forward with the location that was approved by the city council.”

Regarding construction fees, Verizon will pay for an accompanying building that houses public restrooms and service equipment for the cell site, with an estimated price tag of $240,000. Verizon will also receive a $40,000 one-time payment from the city and $6,000 annual credit on its lease payment over 15 years. The company’s yearly lease payment starts at $13,200 with that amount increasing by two percent annually for up to 25 years.  

Many residents are not pleased with the planned project and accuse city officials of not trying hard enough to renegotiate the contract. However, if the city backs out of the agreement, they could face a potential lawsuit, reported the Telegram.

Recently appointed Mayor Jim Bulkley noted that city officials will look at changing the approval process for cell towers built on city property to make it more transparent in the future. This includes the possibility of adding a public hearing.

Regarding the approved project, some work has already begun. City Engineer Rick Bogus reported that an underground fiber optic system to serve the lift station and cell site is underway.

November 8, 2018

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