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City Opposes Verizon Cell Tower
by Ashley Murphy

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Representatives from Verizon came before the Cleveland City Council yesterday to discuss the matter of a new 80 foot monopole cellular tower near the Cleveland Historic District. The tower would be located at 699 17th Street, which is across the street from the designated historic district and adjacent to the greenway. The City Council is adamantly against the cell tower going up, citing letters from residents opposing the tower and many community organizations and boards opposing the tower, as well. In addition, some council members believe the tower would be an eyesore to the community.

Verizon representatives stated they were very lucky to have found this land in order to serve the area around Keith Street and Harris Circle. The need for towers is determined by feedback to Verizon stores when customers come in with phone service issues. Many households today aren't dropping landlines and depending solely on cellular phones, prompting the need for more towers. Cleveland currently has three Verizon towers, but those towers are overloaded and need some relief as Verizon's consumer base grows.

No matter the argument, the council wants the tower kept away from the historic district. Councilman Richard Banks made a motion - which he said was based on the number of residents who opposed it - to send a letter of opposition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Banks states the opposition is justified for the following reasons:

1. The tower would be located across the street form the designated historic district.
2. It would be adjacent to the greenway.
3. It would be located near a floodway.
4. The tower could pose a possible safety threat to life force and other medical helicopters coming and going from the nearby hospital.
5. Inadequate notice was given to the public about the tower's construction.
6. Letters have been received by the City Mayor and council members from people who are opposed to the tower.
7. There were insufficient efforts by Verizon to locate alternates pieces of land.
8. Insufficient reason was given to the council as to why this particular spot was chosen.

Commissioner Bill Estes also requested a copy of this letter be sent the State Historic Commission. The motion passed unanimously.

Two separate resolutions were passed for Cleveland Utilities. The first resolution authorized the city to borrow funds for Cleveland Utilities. The second authorized the city to issue bonds in the amount, up to, $8.75 million for Cleveland Utilities.

Councilman George Poe wished to present a motion to contact the company who installed the city's traffic lights to sync them up. The traffic situation is increasingly getting worse, on top of the addition of several more traffic lights throughout the city. Poe said he has received several complaints and it's time to finally solve this matter. If this company is incapable of making it right, then they need to be questioned about a company that can, he continued.

The City Council will meet on November 1st for their Fall Strategic Planning Session and will be back to their regular agenda on Monday, November 8th.