Highly Controversial Monopine Tower Site Approved in Decatur, AL

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The Decatur AL, City Council rejected T-Mobile’s bid for a special permit to build a 150-foot monopine tower on October 5. Then, City Attorney Herman Marks advised otherwise. On November 2, the council voted to rescind its early decision and invited Southwest Decatur residents to speak their minds on the proposal on November 16.

According to Decatur Daily, on Monday, December 7, the measure approving the controversial, 150-foot monopine cell phone tower passed 3-2. The special permit allows the company to erect a cellphone tower at 1406 Chadwell St. S.W. The city will lease the property for $1,400 per month.

T-Mobile was unable to find a sufficient, alternate location. Andy Rotenstreich, a Birmingham attorney representing T-Mobile said he spoke to Emma Allen, a church clerk of Bell Primitive Baptist Church, about an opportunity to erect a tower on the 20 acres of church-owned property. Rotenstreich claimed he asked Allen to have the church call him back if the offer still stood, but received no response. “The church property doesn’t meet city ordinance. Our only choice is the city-owned property,” he said. 

Benjamin Burt, Bell Primitive senior pastor confirmed that Rotenstreich called and did not receive a call back, but also said a decision should not have been made based on one conversation, and that T-Mobile never made an attempt to look at the property.

Councilman Bill Jackson, who voted against the permit, was also not convinced the company made a genuine effort to find another suitable location after residents voiced their objection. “They did not do their due diligence,” he said.

Jim Gray, a resident who led a protest against the tower, said the owner of 50 acres near Eighth Street Southwest also offered her property for the tower and never heard back from T-Mobile.

Councilmen Chuck Ard and Roger Anders were convinced the company went beyond their responsibilities to find another property and that many residents favor the tower for improved coverage.

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