Outraged citizens in Lakeland, Florida won a small battle but lost the war in their efforts to prevent the approval of a 110 foot cell tower. In a 4-3 decision, the City Commission approved Verizon’s request, but with an amendment that limits the height of the tower to 110 feet, reports The Ledger.
Originally, Verizon proposed a 158-foot tower with a “protruding antennae,” according to an article published by The Ledger. Verizon lowered the tower height to appease city commissioners, but were hoping to have an option approved that would have allowed for a 20-foot extension to the structure.
James Johnston, the attorney representing Verizon during the zoning approval process, stressed that the carrier made several compromises to limit the visual intrusiveness of the structure and took into account the commission-approved eight-point requirements for zoning approval.
“We have made substantial compromises to make this less visually intrusive,” said Johnston. “Professional planners who deal with your code every day have said, ‘Yes, you meet the eight requirements.’”
The commission narrowly granted a conditional use approval to Verizon after an hour-long back-and-forth with City Commissioner Justin Troller, who showed skepticism regarding the necessity of the structure as well as its aesthetic effect on the community.
Commissioner Edie Yates supported the project, citing increased broadband access and practicality of cell devices in today’s world as reasons for her support.
“I know nobody wants a cell tower close to their home,” Yates said. “I think we also have to be practical and realistic. What have we been talking about with broadband and better access?”
February 23, 2017