A 325-foot tower is set to go up in Pompano Beach, FL by the end of the year, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported. The tower will be part of Broward County’s new $59.5 million public safety radio system that will consist of three towers. The radio system will be used for police, paramedics, and firefighters to respond to emergency situations.
The new system will replace one that was overwhelmed during a shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January of 2017, and another shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February of 2018. The other two towers set for Tamarac and Hollywood will be just as tall, and residents in these cities have expressed concern over the plans.
Officials in Tamarac are most worried about the aesthetics of the tower and how property values may be affected. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, set up after the Parkland massacre, pushed Tamarac commissioners to not stand in the way of getting the new radio system up and running. Hollywood officials and residents tried to fight the plans, and asked the county to put antennas on top of a downtown high rise instead of erecting the tall tower in their park and nature preserve. County officials refused the suggestion, saying the reception would not be enough, the cost was too high, and construction would take too long.
Pompano Beach residents were not given a chance to object to the tower plans, as most residents have yet to learn of it coming to their area.
Assistant County Administrator Alphonso Jefferson said county officials were not purposely hiding the tower plans from residents, but officials have expressed concern over disclosing tower locations because they could become targets for terrorists, according to the Sun Sentinel. Jefferson said the plans followed the city’s permitting process, and the tower bypassed a special hearing typically required for one of its height, since the structure will be used exclusively for public safety.
Mayor Rex Hardin agrees the tower is necessary, but said there should be a change in the city’s rules to inform residents of plans like this sooner. According to the Sun Sentinel, Hardin said, “Just having people find out about it when construction starts is not a good way to engender good feelings with their government.”
Todd Hennen, president of the Pompano Highlands Civic Improvement Association, said he wishes he had known of the plans earlier. Hennen said, “It’s nice to know what’s going on in your backyard.” The Pompano Beach tower will be next to the Deerfield Beach border, so Broward has been referring to it as the “Deerfield Beach tower.” Deerfield Beach residents and officials were surprised with the plans as well, and Commissioner Ben Preston said he, “would personally be pretty concerned about that” once he was informed of the plans.
May 21, 2019