Personal Opinion Isn’t Enough to Overrule Three Towers in Topeka

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The Topeka Planning Commission voted to recommend the city’s governing body to approve three permits requested from AT&T to construct towers, reported the Topeka Captial-Journal. Two of the towers are planned at 130-feet, while one is slated to stand 100-feet tall.

Residents of the area spoke in opposition to the proposed towers, citing health problems and describing the towers as eyesores that would devalue their property.

In response, planning commission chairwoman Katrina Ringler said federal law bans local governments from restricting the placement of telecommunications equipment such as cell towers and antennas based on health and environmental concerns. “We’re looking at strictly the planning and zoning criteria when we’re looking at these cases,” she stressed.

Regarding the public’s concerns, such as towers causing cancer, AT&T representative Glen Klocke said, research shows such towers pose no health hazards. In response to concerns about the effect the tower would have on property values, deputy city attorney Mary Feighny said case law indicates a local property owner’s opinion is insufficient to establish that a proposed tower’s presence would do that.

Although one city planner opposed the location of the 100-foot tower, the commission still approved it, reported the Capital-Journal.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” planning commissioner Corliss Lawson said.

February 21, 2019

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