Due to a legal issue that developed, the La Paz County Board of Supervisors referred two matters regarding a proposed cell tower in the upriver area back to the County Planning & Zoning Commission.
The two matters referred back to the commission at the Board’s Nov. 16 meeting included a rezoning request and a conditional use permit for the Eleanor G. Stephan Trust for a proposed cell tower for Verizon Wireless.
Chief Civil Deputy County Attorney Ryan Dooley told the Supervisors there had been some confusion over the location because it was referred to being in Cienega Springs. Upon further examination, it was concluded the location was closer to Moovalya Estates. As a result of this confusion, Dooley said the proposed project wasn’t posted properly at the site.
The meet the legal requirements for posting, Dooley said a second posting should’ve been placed near the intersection of Blue Ridge Dr. and Hilltop Drive.
Dooley said this meant the project had to be reposted before any action could be taken on it. The matter will come before the Planning & Zoning Commission at their January 2021 meeting, with the Supervisors taking action to approve or disapprove the project later that month.
The Supervisors originally had the matter before them at their Nov. 2 meeting. They decided not to take any action at that time because of the comments from area residents in a public hearing on the matter.
Among other things, the residents noted that, while the county only had to notify property owners within 300 feet of the property for the proposed cell tower, the tower would affect many more people than just those within 300 feet. They said the tower would be an eye sore, and it would lower property values and make some properties unsellable in the future.
There were also concerns raised over health issues from long-term exposure to microwaves. Some residents said they feared an increase in cancers due to the tower.
Residents also said there were alternatives to putting the tower in a residential area. They asked the Supervisors to talk to Verizon and seek another location.
District 2 Supervisor Duce Minor, whose district includes the upriver area, said he was inclined to support the cell tower as cellphone reception in the upriver area is notoriously bad. However, the residents’ comments made him have second thoughts about the project.
“We need to do more research,” he said.