Minutes of Board of Adjustment’s Hearing held on July 19, 2011.
I. Call to Order. Meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. Board members present were John Gohr, Ron Muff, Dennis Staudt, Bill Fluhrer and Ann Sullivan. Also present were Jeff Sherman, Zoning Administrator, and Misty Day, Assistant Zoning Administrator. Roll call of Board members was taken and all five (5) members were present.
II. Approval of Agenda. A motion to approve the agenda as presented was made by Dennis Staudt and seconded by Bill Fluhrer, motion was unanimously approved.
III. Approval of Minutes. A motion to approve the minutes from the June 21, 2011, meeting was made by John Gohr and seconded by Ron Muff, motion was unanimously approved.
IV. Communications Received. Assistant Day stated that she received a phone call and a letter regarding the conditional use request. The letter was from an environmental study firm who was researching historical buildings near the proposed site. The call was from a neighbor who was inquiring as to what the request was about. The neighbor did not express any support or objection to the request.
V. Old Business. No old business.
VI. New Business.
A. A conditional use request by The Grinnell Group/US Cellular for a Telecommunications Tower on Barbara Stock’s property located in the NW¼ & N½ SW¼ Section 36, Township 94 North, Range 17 West of the 5th P.M., Union Township. Jerry Carpenter and Shawn Hemsted, the project manager, were present on behalf of the Grinnell Group. Mr. Carpenter stated that US Cellular had entered into an agreement with Barbara Stock to lease a 75’ x 75’ area on land she owns along Hwy 14 in Floyd County to build a telecommunications tower. The tower would be a 300’ self support tower with no guide wires. At the base of the tower there would be a 75’ x 75’ compound that would contain the tower itself, a 12’ x 20’ equipment shelter to house radio equipment, and a generator with a propane tank that will be added sometime in the future. The compound would be rocked and maintained for weeds. It will be surrounded by an 8’ chain linked fence with barbed wire for security purposes. Access to the tower site would be through an existing driveway off of Hwy 14. Mr. Carpenter stated that they chose this site because it is located in an AG district, it is tucked into a wooded area so the North and West side of the tower compound would be screened by trees, it fits in very well with what US Cellular is trying to accomplish by providing in-home coverage to that area of the County as well as into the City of Greene, and it also fits well with their existing network of sites in Charles City, Floyd, Nora Springs, Dumont, Allison and Clarksville. The tower will be an unmanned passive use tower post construction and typically once a month a tech will come in to do maintenance on the radio equipment and check over the site. Lighting on the site is mandated by the FAA, and in this case there will be lighting at the top of the tower and at the midway point or 150’ level as well. There would be no related glare, odor, smoke, or dust emitted by the site. The only noise emitted would be from the air conditioning unit on the shelter that will be used to cool the radio equipment, which emits about the same noise level as a residential air conditioning unit. This particular site will be replacing another site that is approximately 1.65 miles to the Northwest along 300th Street, as the proposed site is in a better location that provides increased coverage and better service for their customers. Chair Ann Sullivan inquired as to whether there would be a person on-site all the time. It was determined that there would not be a person on-site all of the time. Chair Sullivan inquired as to why the propane tank and generator were necessary. Mr. Hemsted stated that the generator would be for back-up power in case of power outages so people can still use their cell phones. Board Member Bill Fluhrer inquired as to whether the existing tower would be taken down and it was determined that it would. Board Member Dennis Staudt inquired as to whether US Cellular would be renting out space on the tower and it was determined that the tower is designed to handle up to 3 carriers and they would be renting out space to other carriers. Mr. Hemsted added that the lease on the existing tower is up so they are taking this opportunity to create a better network as the current tower severs Greene and Marble Rock, but it does not serve them very well. They also plan to add a 2nd tower in the future near Rockford as well as a repeater to increase service. Mr. Byron Davis was present on behalf of Kanter Farms and spoke in opposition of the request. Mr. Davis stated that Kanter Farms owns the land where the existing tower currently sits and that they could not come to an agreement with US Cellular on a rental amount as Mr. Davis feels they have been underpaid in the past. Mr. Davis added that the tower was just replaced with a brand new tower approximately 5 years ago and feels that the move of the tower is a result of not wanting to pay a higher rental amount for the current location. Chair Sullivan inquired as to what type of tower existed and it was determined that it was a guide wire tower. Board Member Staudt inquired as to how much land the current tower sat on and it was determined that it was approximately 4 acres, including the guide wires. Mr. Hemsted added that they felt it was a better investment to move the tower as US Cellular is in the process of upgrading to a 4G network, which will improve data speeds in addition to phone service coverage, and this is merely an opportunity to serve their customers better.
A motion to approve the conditional use request made by The Grinnell Group/US Cellular for a Telecommunications Tower on Barbara Stock’s property located in the NW¼ & N½ SW¼ Section 36, Township 94 North, Range 17 West of the 5th P.M., Union Township, was made by John Gohr and was seconded by Dennis Staudt. Roll call vote was taken and the application was unanimously approved.
VII. Adjourn. Motion to close the hearing was made by John Gohr and was seconded by Bill Fluhrer.
Jeff D. Sherman