Cell phone reception for various areas of the county was the main topic for discussion for the Butler County Commissioners on Tuesday morning.

Cell phone reception for various areas of the county was the main topic for discussion for the Butler County Commissioners on Tuesday morning.

Two potential Conditional Use Permits (CUPs) were brought before the commission for consideration.

The first CUP, for a mono-pole to be erected on the corner of SW Purity Springs Road and SW 10th, held no opposition, but the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended several conditions. Those conditions were: file a description of a land site survey, prepare a cash bond to pay for the removal of the tower with an additional 50 percent of the cost of removal to cover inflation, the owners of the property must also have an affidavit on file to notify any future landowners of the stipulations and setbacks and following the erection of the tower, and TowerCo LLC must return the condition of the county road to its previous condition.

Aside from some of the stipulations outlined from the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Butler County Commission held no immediate concerns about the mono-pole or its location.

The second CUP sought during the commission meeting was slightly more complicated.

“This is a request from James J. Redington and TowerCo LLC for a CUP for the erection of a 200’ Mono-pole Communication Tower which will be used to accommodate at least four carriers on behalf of AT&T Mobility,” explained Director of Community Development David Alfaro. “This property is 119.3 acres. Like the prior CUP request. AT&T Mobile was asked to complete a search within a two-mile radius to see if they were able to find an existing tower to meet their needs. They did find one tower owned by the City of Towanda, but it was not a viable candidate according to AT&T’s standards. There was a bit of concern expressed in regard to the tower as well regarding particularly the color of the light placed on the top of the tower. It was verified by the FCA that a red light will appear on the tower instead of a white strobe, which Mr. Paul Payden, the concerned community member was concerned about.”

Payden also seized an opportunity to speak and address the commission about his concerns.

“I have three items I’m concerned with in regards to this tower,” explained Payden. “I first want to point out I am in favor of having a tower in this area. I currently have AT&T cell phone coverage and in this area it is atrocious, but I do have some concerns. I have a document, which was sent to me by Mr. Alfaro, which shows the exact location of the proposed tower. It will be located 395 feet east of Diamond Road on the northern end of the property.”

He went on to explain after he first purchased his property in 2006, which is located directly across the street from the proposed tower, he was told the area was not in a flood plain. However, in 2007, the entire area began to flood in the spring because of the fast moving Whitewater River. The same area flooded in 2008, 2009 and 2010 as well.

“I know once this tower is erected, a large chain-link fence will be placed around it,” said Payden. “When this area floods with a fast-moving water, it will contain so much force, it will tear down that fence and carry it and all equipment down stream to Oklahoma somewhere. The floods in the area have been known to leave fish in trees because of the fast movement of the waters. I propose the tower be erected in a location 1,000 feet to the east. It would still be contained within the same property and it would not change the conceptual contract currently held with the tower construction company.”

His final concern with the tower, aside from the color and type of light placed at the top was the legal description of the utility lines which would supply the tower.

“From what I decipher from the legal description for these utilities is they will be located on the west side of the street, bordering my property and they will then cross the street to feed directly into the tower,” commented Payden. “I don’t see why they aren’t going to be placed on the east side of the street since the tower will be constructed on the east side.”

“I’d like to hear from AT&T about the suggestions made to us,” said Commissioner Peggy Palmer. “I really see no reason for the easement to be on the west side.”

“Mr. Payden has shown the commission several things needing our attention,” commented Commissioner Ed Myers. “Before we act, I think we need to know exactly where this tower is going to be and how durable it will be. I feel the reasonable thing to do this morning is to table the request and revisit these issues.”

“I don’t think we need to send this back to the Planning Commission,” said Commissioner Dan Woydziak. “We do need to find out the exact location of this tower so when we revisit the issue back here next week, we can find a way to modify the plans.”

“In regards to modifying the plans, I think we should also include the township roads and returning them to their original condition,” added Palmer.

The issue was then tabled for further discussion on May 6.

The commission also:

• approved a Mortgage Lot Split with Agricultural Preservation Overlay for Brian and Sarah Mahan for the purpose of obtaining a mortgage with the intent of building on a newly created 7.52 acre tract and placing an APO on 32.29 acres.

• approved a request by Bradley Craven for a Mortgage Lot Split with APO for the purpose of obtaining a mortgage with the intent of building on a newly crated 10-acre tract and placing an APO on 70 acres.

• approved a request by Christa K. Kellogg for a Homestead Lot Split with an APO on 40 acres of a 120 acre tract zoned AG-40 Agricultural.

• received and opened sealed bids for 2014 bridge repair projects for the Polecat Creek Bridge on SW Butler Road south of Rose Hill and for the Henry Creek Bridge on NW 150th Street east of Elbing.

Kari Adams can be reached at kadams@butlercountytimesgazette.com.