Commissioners Approve Cell Tower; Board Appointments

A 198' Alltel monopole cell phone tower will soon provide service from Meade Creek Road in Sheridan County.
A 198' Alltel monopole cell phone tower will soon provide service from Meade Creek Road in Sheridan County.

At Tuesday's Sheridan County Commission meeting public comment was heard on the Conditional Use Permit for the proposed Kane Cell Tower at 312 Meade Creek Road in Sheridan.

At the June 2, 2010 County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, that commission had approved the CUP. The Alltel tower is to be built on land owned by John and Janice Kane. There are currently no towers within the three-mile radius of the proposed site.

A fair amount of comment was given to the issue of whether or not to put lights on the tower. At 198 total feet, the tower is under the 200 foot minimum the FAA requires before putting on lights. Airport Manager John Stopka told the Commission that safety was his sole concern, saying that with so many rural pilots and low-flying aircraft, he'd like to see lights on the tower.

Dean Miller, Project Engineer with Alltel, told the Commission that the surrounding hills of the area are higher than the tower is. Also, Miller and John Kane said that if they have lights, they would be required to have a back-up propane generator on the site, which would add increased truck traffic to maintain the propane tank. Miller also said the incline to the site would be quite steep for trucks.

The commissioners then weighed in with their comments. Commissioner Steve Meier, himself a 30-year pilot, said that low-flying aircraft have a responsibility to know the terrain and existing obstacles. Commissioners voted 5 – 0 to approve the CUP, without requiring tower lights.

Also from the July 6th Commission meeting: commissioners acknowledged three County employees for their years of service: Jim Billings – ten years with the IT department; and Mike Gale and Travis Harnish for five years each with the Sheridan County Sheriff's Office.

They approved the appointment of Bernie Bornong to a 3-year term ending June 30, 2013 on the Sheridan County Planning and Zoning Commission.

And they approved two appointments to the Sheridan County Public Library System Board of Trustees – Chase McFadden and Linda Thompson. Each will serve a 3-year term ending June 30, 2013.

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