By Gregg Jones
‘Union Missourian Editor
There has not been a warm reception from several Union area residents to a proposed communications tower on Denmark Road.
The Union Planning and Zoning Board gave the nod to the permit for the tower to be placed at 1841 Denmark Road.
Some area residents are not happy with the location of the communications structure, but there is little that could be done to prevent the tower’s construction.
Elizabeth Wilmesher, who lives across Denmark Road from the proposed tower, wrote a letter to the planning board in opposition to the tower.
Monday night she spoke in front of the board stating she, and several other area residents are against the tower’s location.
“We don’t think it is right for this area and there are potential health risks,” she said.
When asked, 12 people raised their hands in support of Wilmesher’s opposition.
According to City Attorney Tim Melenbrink, communication towers are permitted in B-2 zoning districts. There can be conditions placed on the towers, but tower s can’t be denied if the conditions are met.
Planning board member John Allen noted that FCC rules also protect the placement of towers within municipalities.
“So this tower is going up regardless of any opposition?” asked Wilmesher.
Planning board member and Union Alderman Bob Schmuke said the board will approve the tower if it meets particular guidelines.
“That’s why we’re setting conditions,” he added.
The Union Board of Aldermen must give the final approval to the tower with the planning board’s conditions.
Paul Thompson, with Network Real Estate, LLC, St. Charles, was hired to find a location for the tower. Thompson is contracted with AT&T,
He explained that the eastern portion of Union is an area that is densely populated and there is a need for a tower to provide better cell service to the cellphone company’s users.
He added that more than 55 percent of Union residents are customers of AT&T.
Thompson said the monopole tower will be located behind a barn and partially blocked by trees. The property is owned by Ava Frick.
“We tried to tuck it back behind the barn as best as possible,” he said.
The monopole tower is a steel shaft that will be 160 feet high. It is designed to hold four carriers, but initially AT&T will be the only carrier using the tower.
“We think the monopole is best for this location,” added Thompson. “It is less intrusive than others.”
Planning board member Howard Conard questioned if there was a chance that the tower could be blown over by strong winds.
Thompson said the tower will be built to an engineer’s standard.
“It is designed to withstand bursts indigenous to this area,” he said. “The only tower to go down that I am aware of was in the Joplin tornado.”
• According to city ordinance, a proposed gravel access road must be blacktopped;
• The tower’s generator can only be tested between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the week;
• The tower must be inspected every four years by a registered structural engineer;
• Equipment not in direct support of a tower cannot be stored on site;
• A fence higher than 6 feet, with a gate and signage, must be erected;
• The tower must be constructed to be three times the intended use in order for secondary users to lease the tower space;
•The tower must be setback from property lines at least 66 percent of its height;
• The area around the tower must be landscaped to screen the compound; and
• The tower must be painted blue/gray.