A 200-foot mono-pole will be built on the SE Corner of SW Diamond Road and SW 110th Street

The discussion of the 200-foot mono-pole to be built on the SE Corner of SW Diamond Road and  SW 110th Street continued Tuesday morning at the Butler County Commission meeting. Director of Community Development David Alfaro began the discussion.
"On April 29, the mono-pole issue was brought before the commission and a couple of concerns were raised," explained Alfaro. "One of which was if the tower should be moved. I have seen the construction plans for the tower itself and the area we're talking about here is not in a flood plain. The plans state the tower is to be built six inches above the base flood elevation for the area. The base will have piers which will go several feet down into the ground to anchor the tower to the pier. Water running across the ground will not affect this tower. Those involved in the construction of this tower have prior experience building these types of strutters in a flood plain. Most land owners actually prefer to build them in a flood area because it is basically a waste land. They can't farm it. They can't typically build anything on it. AT&T was contacted about the concerns and they felt it was best to place the tower there."
Alfaro went on to explain the concerns addressed in the previous meeting regarding the placement of the utilities were dealt with accordingly and the plans were modified. The new plan clearly outlines the intent of Butler REC to begin the electrical wiring on the south side of the property and they will carry on north up to the property line before moving east to the tower. With the new plan, the utilities will stay clear of concerned citizen Paul Paden's property.
Commissioner Peggy Palmer was also concerned about any additional damage to the road.
"It was noted in the last meeting the company will make the necessary repairs to the road to bring it back to its current condition," said Alfaro.
“Is the condition in the permit?" asked Palmer. "I think it needs to be in the permit so we don't have a problem down the road."
"We can add it as the number 11 condition," explained County Administrator Will Johnson. "They'll make the necessary repairs to the road."
Padan then chose to address the commission with his concerns.
"My concern is the structure, not the tower itself," began Paden. "My concern is the 6' tall, 100' long chain-link fence and the cinderblock building structure. The location chose for this tower is on the cusp of a significant flood channel. I've given you my eyewitness account. The entire area of that property has been under water during certain times of the year. This is the violent Whitewater river carrying trees and all sorts of debris. This is not a placid Lake Cheney type of setting. I want reliable service in the area."
He went on to explain with the completion of the tower, the next flood to hit the area will result in a complete submersion of the tower, equipment and fencing. With all the structure under water, which will be moving 20-30 miles per hour, the fencing and all components will surely suffer damage.
Commissioner Ed Myers also began to show his concerns over the location of the tower.
"I have some acquaintance due to various personal activities with flood channeling along the Mississippi River," Myers began. "As Mr. Paden has been describing, you've got a situation in flood like conditions where a river can jump its bank. This actually happens a lot and it is a well-known phenomenon. Sometimes, the flood can be so severe, the area can become a floodway of the river. I believe Mr. Paden's observations have a lot of credence to them. I'm trying to understand why the tower company and AT&T would want to continue to seek this out."
Caroline Boyd of Telecom Reality Consultants, LLC then spoke on behalf of TowerCo LLC.
"AT&T was actually given multiple locations as an option for this tower," explained Boyd. "With a tower like this, they're trying to enable this tower to connect with all other towers in the area because of their low band frequency of the LTE, which is the 4G bandwidth. When the southern portion of the property was suggested, AT&T said no. It has to be built in this location in order to connect with the other towers."
She went on to speak about how she has dealt with flood plain towers before.
"I have personally placed towers in flood ares," Boyd explained. "This is why we went ahead and produced a design which will raise the shelter 4'6" off the ground. This is six inches above the flood level and it will address the concerns over the utilities and equipment. It will be raised and sitting on a steel platform. We have a lot of experience with flood waters. In terms of the fence and overflow from the waters, if you're talking trees, which could possibly take the fence, it's like you're asking us to design for when a tornado comes. There is a lot more of an effect of damage from a tree than a fence. This location is necessary for the tower."
"So you listened to the concerns of Mr. Paden and went back and raised everything on a platform?" asked Palmer.
"Yes," explained Boyd. "We heard the concerns and we addressed them directly. We've built towers in flood plains before."
"The tower we own in Andover was constructed in a flood plain on a raised platform as well," commented Johnson.
Boyd went on to explain how the tower, which will not be on the platform, will easily be able to withstand the floodwaters.
"First, the company will do a soil boring," explained Boyd. "After analyzing that soil boring, we will design a foundation specifically for this tower structure. It will be based not only on the soil conditions, but also the number of carriers. Next, a foundation will be built. It will involve lots of concrete and lots of steel. The foundation will include columns which will be planted deep into the ground. The equipment will be placed on the raised platform inside a concrete structure. It will not be a cinderblock shelter. It is a prefabricated shelter which will be delivered by a crane in one solid piece."
The commission seemed grateful for the changes to the plan for the tower.
"We might say Mr. Paden has done a service for us here because the company was able to come back with an updated design. Obviously, if something goes wrong, the company is the ones taking the risk. If something happens, they will be the ones to get it up and running again. It looks to me like we're okay with the plans now unless we're leaving something out."
Palmer moved to approve the Conditional Use Permit to erect the mono-pole and the motion was carried 4-0 with Commissioner Dan Woydziak absent.
The commission also:
• approved the purchase for one prefabricated storage building on behalf of Harvey County Health Department from CRI funds.
• approved the out-of-state training request and sent the Public Health Preparedness coordinator from the Butler County Health Department.
• approved the request for a change of district classification on property located within the growth area of the City of Augusta more commonly known as 8888 SW 110th St. from AG-2 to R-6D on 25.013 acres of the original 66.8 acres and directed staff to pass on the recommendation to the City of Augusta.
• approved the extension of the current City of Augusta Neighborhood Revitalization Plan for an additional year.

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