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Cell tower one step closer to realization

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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A proposed cell tower at the future site of Jimenez Park near the Club Lincoln clubhouse is one step closer to reality as City Council gave the nod to ComSites West to seek a permit Tuesday night. That doesn’t mean that the two proposed towers will go up soon, however. “This is just a step in the process,” said City Councilman Tom Cosgrove. “Eventually, the planning commission will make a decision regarding the conditional-use permit.” It’s that permit four residents spoke in opposition to Tuesday night. “I feel as though, for aesthetic reasons, you should deny the lease to this company,” said Bob Birdseye, a Lincoln Crossing resident. “This is right at the gateway to Lincoln Crossing. We’re already faced with bypass construction and now we’re faced with 90-foot towers.” Birdseye added that it is unfair to put the cell towers at the Lincoln Crossing gateway when the Lincoln Crossing Community Organization enforces aesthetic regulations among its residents. The current plan calls for two temporary, 90-foot towers to be erected near where the bypass crosses Ferrari Ranch Road. Those towers are scheduled to be replaced by permanent, 120-foot structures that will be incorporated into the lighting system for a future baseball field once the funds are raised for the park through new development. In leasing the land to ComSites West, Lincoln would receive up to $3,000 per month, which would go directly into the city’s general fund, according to George Dellwo, assistant director of community development. Health concerns raised at the previous City Council meeting were said to be non-issues by the council and a representative from ComSites West. Those assertions were not challenged by any of the four residents who spoke out against the towers during Tuesday’s public-comment portion of the meeting. The council voted 4-0 to approve the lease agreement, which only allows ComSites West to apply for a permit. Councilman Paul Joiner, a Lincoln Crossing resident, said the city’s Planning Commission is the appropriate venue for discussions on aesthetics of the site to take place, adding that he voted for the lease agreement not only for those in Lincoln Crossing who say they need better cellular reception but for future residents who could benefit from a tower’s installation on that spot. Mayor Spencer Short recused himself from the proceedings, as he has a business relationship with a company that is affiliated with ComSites West and he didn’t want there to be any misconception of a conflict of interest. Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at brandond@goldcountrymedia.com.