Cell tower put on hold

Soldotna council to decide if trailer park will have new neighbor

Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Not unlike many municipalities around the country, Soldotna has found itself at the center of a controversy over the siting of a cell phone tower.

The Soldotna City Council will sit as the Board of Adjustment on Wednesday night to consider a request for an 80-foot high Cellular One antenna tower near the Peninsula Center Mall.

The Soldotna Planning and Zoning Commission ruled against a variance application submitted by Charles Forbes of Lanmark Inc., asking that the setback requirements for the tower be waived.

The city’s code requires a setback from the property line equal in distance to the height of the 80-foot tower. The variance sought to have the tower set back from the closest property line, which is approximately 28 feet away. The property is triangular in shape, approximately 239 feet long and 70 feet wide at the widest point.

Planning and Zoning had received objections to the tower from a neighboring trailer park — Birch Lane Estates Mobile Home Park.

In a letter to planners, Connie Hocker said, “We have tried hard to clean up the (mobile home) park and attract families that are an asset to their communities; how will this (affect) our ability to lease spaces located directly under this tower?”

Forbes has appealed Planning and Zoning’s Nov. 15 decision.

At that same meeting, planners approved a conditional use permit for the cell phone antenna tower to be placed on the property.

On Monday, City Manager Tom Boedeker said a conditional use permit would determine whether the antenna could be placed on the property at all, but it would still need to comply with all other requirements of the city building code.

Other business slated for Wednesday’s city council meeting include:

· A special assessment district for street construction and paving for Crow’s Nest Court and Diane Lane cul-de-sac. Funds for the project became available after the North Aspen Street project was removed from the city’s street improvement list;

· The 2007 appointments to the city’s boards and commissions, including the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Airport Commission, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Library Board;

· A $20,000 appropriation from a Department of Commerce and Community Economic Development grant for library books and computer replacements;

· Mayoral proclamations recognizing Soldotna Police Officer Aaron Renken for heroic actions and commending the Soldotna Stars football team.

The city council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@ peninsulaclarion.com.

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