Spanish Main considers cell tower
Rio Rancho City Councilor Chuck Wilkins said he checked with residents in his district to see what they thought of the proposed tower at Sugar Park. I didnt even run into one person thats opposed to it, he said. Everyone is alright with it or supports it, he said. Many of the people he talked to complained of spotty cell reception and said they look forward to having another cell tower nearby, according to Wilkins. The trend is for people to go away from land lines and to use their cell phones as a main phone, Wilkins said. (Residents in) two or three houses said it would be great. Wegryznek, though, said he is concerned that property values will go down and that a tower in Sabana Park will be an eyesore, even though it would be disguised. Hes said also concerned about the towers possible effects on the health and development of his son. He conceded there are no definitive studies showing health problems caused by cell towers, which emit electromagnetic radiation and use quite a bit of electricity, but hes still concerned. He said its only been a couple of decades that the country has seen widespread use of cell phones. Kids are susceptible. Their bodies are still developing, Wegryzneck said.
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The view or economic impact of a larger tower has not been studied or quantified to date. The cell tower builder that has reportedly been contacted in the effort is Highpoint Tower Technology located in South Sarasota. Highpoint had written the Town Commission in May seeking to provide a cell tower revenue-sharing solution to the Town on either town or private property. Brenner estimates a tower would provide about $35,000 to $45,000 in lease revenue annually per carrier to rent space on a tower and most towers hold 4 or 5 carriers. Longboat Planning and Zoning Director Robin Meyer has had some conversations he said with the Spanish Main parties and said the idea would not be allowed under the current cell tower regulations. But with the changes under consideration by the Planning and Zoning Board and the recent amendments to the Town Comprehensive Plan, it could be applied for under a Special Exception Use or a change in allowable uses in residential zones. Meyer said the tower could not be grandfathered as its use has been abandoned for many years. Currently, the Town is attempting to develop telecommunications regulations with the Commission asserting it wants a hierarchy for approval with cell towers being the least preferred solution for telecommunications needs. The language is currently in the Planning and Zoning Board, which wishes to increase the maximum allowable height in the new language to 120 feet on private property from the staff-suggested 100 feet.
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