Green River Star -

By DAVID MARTIN
Editor 

Tower ordinance approved

Does not allow property seizure

 

December 20, 2017



An ordinance creating zoning rules for the construction and placement of wireless communications towers passed its final reading before the Green River City Council Tuesday night, with some clarification regarding what the ordinance does and does not allow.

Citing incorrect information published earlier this week, Laura Leigh, director of community development for the city said the ordinance does not allow telecommunications companies to take privately owned property to build their communications towers.

“This is not an eminent domain ordinance in which the city is giving itself permission to take private land,” Leigh said.

Leigh said the ordinance is regulatory in nature, which aims to set rules for the placement of communications towers within the city, creating a process in which proposals for communications towers are approved through either an in-house utility review or a special use permit.

The ordinance would not exempt communications towers from the permitting process.

Leigh said the city would have to follow regulations set forth by the 2012 Spectrum Act, which does provide a few exemptions. One exemption involve the changing or maintenance of equipment on an existing tower that does not constitute a major improvement to the tower. Also exempted are small towers that are placed on an existing pole or structure that does not extend more than 3 feet and portable, temporary facilities used for special events and emergencies provided they do not stay in a single location for more than 120 days.

The ordinance was first considered after multiple companies, including Verizon, T-Mobile and Union Wireless, contacted Leigh’s office earlier this year regarding the city’s zoning regulations for communications towers. The city didn’t have rules drafted, which resulted in Leigh petitioning the city to enact a moratorium on the development of communications towers until an ordinance could be drafted and approved by the city. After several months of research into the technology available and similar ordinances enacted in Wyoming communities, the city’s planning and zoning board hosted public hearings in April and again in October, prior to its approval. The ordinance then went before the city council for the legally-required three public readings.

 

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