The Moving Towers of Pine Top

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A 180-foot tower proposed by Cellular One has been booted from its planned location for the second time as the local Planning Board responds to multiple objections from locals and administrators. According to the White Mountain Independent, The Pine Top/Lakeside (AZ) Board of Adjustment (BOA) approved the recommended variance by Planning and Zoning in July, for the tower to be erected at Mountain Meadows Recreational Complex. However, after the hearing, the BOA agreed to find an alternate location within the park farther away from homes. 

The second location chosen, zoned residential, was contested by Dr. Travis Hamblin. He owns a property 50 feet from the re-directed tower location and 300-feet from where he intends to build a house for his ten children. Hamblin noted that he was not properly notified regarding the project. According to Director of Community Development Cody Blake, a re-notification to residents is not required by law. 

Other residents besides Hamblin also oppose the tower, reported the Independent. The recent hearing brought out people who expressed concerns regarding rushing into the approval, potential health impacts, the height of the tower, and the location.

Blake added that the tower would be visible regardless of where it’s placed in the proposed park location; however, the proximity to commercial buildings would conceal the tower’s bottom portion and not affect the immediate neighbors. He also noted the importance of the tower to improve service for safety with emergency calls. Blake said that although residents want their service to improve, no one wants a tower near them. 

Public Works Director Matt Patterson said that the tower needs major power, and two of the three proposed locations have fiber available. If the third location, which residents prefer, is chosen, power and fiber would have to be run underground.

The BOA voted on the location, but it ended in a three-against-three stalemate. Immediately, Vice Chairman Jerry Smith made a motion to deny the appeal and allow the variance and placement of the tower to be located at option two. There was no second, and the motion died. With that, Chairman Stephanie Irwin said the original variance and location were approved.

Attendees asked for clarification on the ruling, and Irwin explained. A motion was made to deny the appeal and relocate it to option number three. When that vote failed, there was another motion to deny the appeal and move the location to option number two. And, again, that motion died as well, reported the Independent.

Another member of the BOA made a motion to approve the appeal and allow the tower’s variance and placement in the number three site. A vote occurred, and the third location was approved. 

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