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GARFIELD -- The Garfield City Council met in special session Thursday, March 1, to hear public input on a proposed ordinance, establishing regulations regarding the placement, construction, and maintenance of antenna arrays and communication towers. Faulk & Foster, of Grand Rapids, Mich., has proposed a change to the ordinance, which would allow towers up to 300 feet in agricultural zoning districts.

Three of the four City Council members were present. Alderman Barry Kitterman was absent.

There were less than 20 people present. City officials agreed to receive comments from city residents by email.

The proposed ordinance allows for a tower in an agricultural area up to 150 feet tall. There is also a proposed amendment requesting the height be up to 300.

"Verizon has identified an area in Garfield ... if city officials agree, then Verizon will proceed. If they are unable to get change order passed, they will not build a tower in Garfield," Mayor Gary Blackburn said.

"It (the height) would be an issue at the very least," Blackburn said. He said the ordinance was "very comprehensive and very professional. The Planning Commission spent quite a bit of time on this."

He said the proposed location is on property owned by Jerry Harpol on North Wimpy Jones Road.

Mr. Bob Chapman spoke in opposition to the ordinance.

"I see a value the landowner is getting, but the city's getting nothing... we're getting nothing back," Chapman said. "I'm against it."

Andy Shook said the tower signal should only reach about five miles, not to the lake, and asked "what benefit we would get out of it?" He said he is a Verizon customer and has no trouble receiving signal in town. Shook is a member of the Planning Commission.

Darshan Hamilton, Garfield, spoke against the tower and posted on social media about it. Husband of the former mayor and a former member of the Planning Commission, Hamilton said he believes keeping Garfield a country environment is important with the ability to see the night sky.

He wrote:

"Garfield Friends and Neighbors,

"Do we want up to 300' cell towers (with the white and red strobe-light night flashers) to be allowed construction in the CENTER of our city?

"To most residents these type towers would be the largest object looming over our properties, affecting both our skylines in the daytime, and our ability to see the moon and stars (by the domination of flashers) at night...

"Garfield city councils have, for decades, fought, by wise use of ordinances, and political pressures, to resist ALL tall electrical towers and large billboards that negatively affect our skylines - cell towers are the new concern...."

Residents of Garfield, may drop off their comments to City Hall or email comments to cityofgarfield@centurytel.net.

General News on 03/07/2018

Print Headline: Views vary on tower height

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