Controversial Cell Tower Proposal is Denied at Moscow City Council Meeting

By Nicole Hindberg on January 11, 2019

The city of Moscow’s first council meeting of 2019 was called to order on Monday, January 7. The meeting began with governor Bill Lambert giving a proclamation of Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Before he presented the proclamation to an officer of the Moscow Police Department, Lambert discussed the importance of this day.

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is a day to recognize those who have lost their lives in duty. This day allows the public to show their appreciation for law enforcement officers and recognize the sacrifice they give for choosing such a dangerous field. After presenting the proclamation, Bill Lambert encouraged people in attendance to do something in appreciation of law enforcement; such as wear blue or purchase a blue light bulb to shine on their porch. These gestures are the traditional ways that people show their support for this day.

via Pixabay.com

Bill Lambert then recognized the council’s decision for choosing the council president and vice president. This year, the city council president will be Jim Boland and the Vice President will be Brandy Sullivan. These changes were approved unanimously.

The majority of the meeting was spent on discussing a denied conditional use permit. Leah Carlson presented a plan to build an 80 ft tall wireless communication facility (or a cell tower for various carriers). This structure would have been located near the Nazarene Church in the residential area. In order to keep an aesthetic appeal, the tower was built to resemble a pine tree. Animated pictures of the tree were then presented for reference for those in attendance. The standards for building such a tower were presented. Some of these standards include noise level, proximity to the residential area, aesthetic choice and many others.

This proposal was discussed at the last city council meeting. The city of Moscow Board of adjustment denied the request because the tower would not be harmonious with the residential area around it. At the last meeting, twelve residents spoke in opposition of building the tower. Three of those residents had concerns about the potential noise of the generator. Three residents had concerns about property value decreasing and seven residents had concerns about the aesthetic value of the tower. Various other residents such as college students in nearby dorms have also publicly opposed the tower. This discussion was meant to allow city council members to decide what to do next with the proposed tower.

The discussion was between a supporter by the name of Richard Busch and those twelve residents. After listening to all concerns and arguments, the city council unanimously decided that there were other feasible locations for this tower that the city should look into. They agree that the applicant was a good try to make it a tree, but it wasn’t compelling evidence to overturn what the board has decided unanimously.

The council ended the meeting by discussing the possible budget and salary changes. It was unanimously decided to not change the budget or salaries at this time.

The next city council meeting will be Tuesday, January 22. At the next meeting, they are discussing topics such as the possibility of self-funded employee health insurance for the city of Moscow employees.

Nicole Hindberg is studying Journalism and Creative Writing at the University of Idaho. She has been writing for Uloop News since September 2018. She also writes for her school's newspaper called the Argonaut. She is also featured in weekly News shows on her university's radio station KUOI 89.3 FM Moscow.

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