Commission does not allow a Conditional Use Permit
Citing the vagueness of “substantial evidence” the Board of Butler County Commissioners voted to deny a request for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) on Property Located at 4819 SW Santa Fe Lake Rd. Towanda.
David Alfaro, Director for Butler County Economic Development appeared before the Board with a recommendation from the Planning Commission to approve the request. The original request was denied for the following reasons:
1) Concerned about possible health implications to the neighbors
2) How the Tower might impact a neighbor to the south of the site and the use of his private air strip.
3) It would disrupt the neighbors view.
4) Was there a true need and how many customers/potential customers would be impacted by the placement of the tower.
5) The placement of the tower would have a negative effect on their Property Values.
On Feb. 26 the Board of County Commissioners discussed the application and felt the request should be remanded back to the Planning Commission for further discussion after receiving a Letter from Legal Counsel representing AT&T. The Commissioners stated they had received calls from residents who were concerned with the Tower and felt the request should be denied based up on aesthetics, potential health effects associated with radiation and reduction of property values.
On April 2 the Planning Commission re-visited the case. The evaluation of the request included input from Legal Counsel, Huelskamp from AT&T and included a response from Terry Huelskamp, Legal Counsel for Butler County. After hearing what Terry had to say it was determined in was in the best interest of the County to approve the request based upon the fact that the reasons for denial would not be considered "substantial evidence".
Local resident, Harris Butler owns and operates a private airstrip on his property which would be affected by the proposed tower. He requested AT&T consider an alternate location.
Mr. Clocke, appeared before the Board stating he was the AT&T representative involved with network real estate acquisition. He addressed the rationale for not selecting an alternate secondary site which was initially considered by AT&T, stating the address under application was not the only location considered to meet the service objective of AT&T.
After being advised by County Attorney Huelskamp on the requirement of law for “substantial evidence” needed to deny the request, Commissioner Masterson stated, “substantial evidence is pretty vague...so I feel we have received substantial evidence.” The request was denied.