• Charlene Sims, Journal staff

Cell tower project near La Cygne gets approval by county

Updated: Sep 22

MOUND CITY – On Monday, Sept.19, the Linn County Commissioners approved a conditional use permit (CUP) for a 280-foot self-supporting communication tower after reviewing the findings and conditions of the Linn County Planning Commission.

The tower will be located at 305 South Industrial Boulevard near the Linn County Industrial Park on the southeast side of La Cygne.

The tower, being built by Skyward Land Services for AT&T, will provide cellular service for approximately 2.5 to 3 miles from its location. It will also offer FirstNet.

According to the FirstNet website, its mission is to deploy, operate, maintain and improve the first high-speed nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. It will allow safety agencies and first responders, to get more information quickly and helping them to make faster and better decisions.

FirstNet can be paid for by individual first responders for rate plans ranging from $40 to $45 per month or by agencies paying for a group of first responders.

FirstNet, an independent government authority was developed by the federal government after Sept. 11, 2001 so that first responders would be able to communicate when regular lines were tied up. It was awarded to AT&T to be implemented.

The tower application by Patrick Erwin of Skyward first went to the planning and zoning commission on June 14. A group of local residents were at the meeting to protest the tower being built by their homes.

It was tabled for more information and for the company to consider changing its location on the property since it did not meet the county’s one to one ratio for cellular towers. The ratio requires that a 280-foot tower be at least 280 feet away from a property line.

In July when it came back before the planning commission, it was tabled again with the planning board asking for more information on the location and about how it would affect property values.

When Erwin returned in August with the requested information, six of the nine planning board members were present. After much discussion, the vote for accepting the tower was 3 to 3 which resulted in a denial.

The denial was taken to the commissioners on Aug. 29 by Planning and Zoning Administrator Darin Wilson. The commissioners sent it back to the planning board for findings on how they came to the decision.

On Sept. 13, the planning commission, after reviewing the new location for the tower and going over findings, approved the construction of the tower by a 9-0 vote.

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