• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Council passes cell tower site to BOA

Verizon designate seeks to site tower on south side
Brian Kabat of Buell Consulting Inc. watches as council members Mark Prentice, Lynn Morris and Ron Herdliska view a site plan for a new cell tower with Mayor Steve Stange (seated) during an Oct. 5 meeting (photo by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– It will be left to the Board of Adjustment to decide whether or not a cellular tower can be constructed within the city limits of Solon.
The Solon City Council informally declined to consider adding cell towers as an acceptable use in the municipal zoning code at a meeting Oct. 5.
The city was asked to amend the zoning code to allow for the siting of a tower for Verizon Wireless, represented at the meeting by Brian Kabat of Buell Consulting Inc. of St. Paul, Minn.
The 130-foot tower is planned for a light commercial district on Stinocher Street adjacent to F.J. Krob Co.
Wireless communication is ever-growing, Kabat told council members.
The number of cell phone-only U.S. households is expected to increase from three percent in 2003 to more than 50 percent in 2017, he said, and Cisco Systems predicted the demand for wireless data will grow at a compounded annual rate of 47 percent over the next five years.
“With that kind of growth, you need more infrastructure, communities need to have a framework to allow carriers to get antennas in the area to better serve the community,” Kabat said.
“Location is really critical,” he said.
“The closer in to the city, the better,” he said. “Because the closer you are to the users, the stronger and more reliable that signal is.”
The proposed tower would be enclosed by a 6-foot fence, would have no climbing pegs on the first 10 feet and would be engineered to collapse in an area about a third of its height, he said.
The tower would be carrying a 4G LTE signal for Verizon, a popular carrier in the area, but Kabat said it was possible other wireless companies could lease space.
He also indicated the tower might be available to the city for emergency services at no cost.
Kabat was happy with the proposed location in a light industrial area near existing tall structures on property owned by Mike Aicher.
“Of the ones (locations) I looked, at we could have been in probably far more controversial places,” Kabat said.
“I think that’s a really good place for it actually,” said Mayor Steve Stange.
Council members, however, had reservations about opening up the city to multiple tower locations.
“We could end up in one area with multiple towers,” said council member Lynn Morris.
City Attorney Jim Martinek outlined two options for the council– to add the cell tower definition to the code for light industrial districts, or to allow a conditional use permit on a case-by-case basis.
“I like that one better,” Stange said. “So conditional use actually gives us a little bit more protection.”
City Administrator Cami Rasmussen noted the light industrial district in question was seen as becoming more of a commercial corridor.
“It’s future is probably more commercial than industrial,” she said.
When asked if a motion was needed, Rasmussen responded the council members could either vote to send the proposed zoning amendment to the Planning and Zoning Commission or take no action and allow Kabat and Buell Consulting to seek a conditional use, likely through the Board of Adjustment.
“So rather than a zoning text amendment, we’ll just say it’s a conditional use?” Kabat asked.
Martinek advised Kabat to make application for a conditional use permit and to contact Rasmussen for more information.
Rasmussen said a site plan would still have to be submitted if the conditional use is approved.
“I appreciate it,” Kabat said. “We look forward to improving coverage in town.”
When asked via email if Buell Consulting would proceed with the application, Kabat forwarded the query to Meagan Dorsch at Verizon Public Relations in Denver.
“Verizon is not able to comment on future plans, but what I can tell you is that we are always looking at ways to improve our network in Solon and across Iowa,” she said in an email response.