Public Hearing on Cell Tower in Our Neighborhood

by Don on April 15, 2012

in About North Platte

We received a Certified letter yesterday from the City of North Platte. The letter is a “Notice of Public Hearing.” The City will hold two public hearings, one before the Planning Commission and one before the City Council. The hearings are to discuss the application by the North Platte Public School District and Verizon Wireless for a conditional use allow for a 101 foot tower and a 42 X 14 foot ticket booth and equipment building on the NPHS’s property.

I’m interested to learn what the specific advantage this location provides to the cell provider. I’m also interested to know what other locations were considered before deciding on this specific location. It would be interesting to learn who initiated the conversation about this site, the school or the cell company? I’d assume it was the cell company but, well you never know.

Since receiving the letter I’ve done some research on cell towers. I’ve learned that according to the FCC health is not a reason to deny an applicant a permit to install a cell tower. “…the Telecommunications Act of 1996 prohibits local jurisdictions from denying a tower application on the basis that it is “unhealthy.” As long as the tower meets FCC regulations and guidelines, it is presumed to be safe.” (Source) I found the wording, “it is presumed to be safe” intriguing. Reading this I said, “Really…”

I did learn that if the Planning Commission approves the conditional use permit and if the City Council approves the permit then the North Platte School board will consider the issue and begin negotiations with Verizon. It has been my experience that if the Planning Commission approves the permit it is nearly a given that the Council will approve the permit. Once the permit is approved the ball will be in the School Board’s court.

I’d like to know where the tower will be placed on the HS property and what impact the tower will have on cell reception in our neighborhood.  There seems to be some legitimate debate about the actual health effects of cell towers. (Source Putting a tower on high school property I do wonder what the impact will be on the health of students who attend NPHS.

There is already one tower at the high school that the NPPS system uses for communication and with the lights of the football field and tennis course there seems little room for an argument against the tower based on aesthetics. Negotiating with Verizon may be one way for the High School to remodel a deteriorating ticket booth without adding that expense directly to the district’s budget.

I do want to see cell reception in North Platte improved and access to high speed Internet. Will this tower strengthen 4G service when it arrives.  At this point I have more questions than answers.

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