Changing the Landscape - The Missourian: Opinion

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Changing the Landscape

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Posted: Saturday, February 2, 2013 5:00 pm

People living or just passing by the scenic New Melle and Augusta areas in the future probably are going to see high towers that are needed for communication purposes, which translate into safety. But not all residents of western St. Charles County are happy about it.

The Augusta and New Melle areas are among the most scenic in Missouri. But growth is changing the landscape somewhat. Some people consider high towers unsightly and detrimental to the landscape. Others don’t get too excited about them. We are seeing more and more communication towers. The one near New Melle will be 300 feet in height. That’s tall! But wait. The one at Augusta may be 450 feet in height. Some views in the Augusta area already are marred by the Ameren power plant’s tall stacks at Labadie.

Adding to the controversy at New Melle is the tower site on a 60-acre farm that was sold to St. Charles County at a discounted price for a future park. The county says the tower will be placed in an area where it won’t mar the park landscape. One of the objectors to the tower at that site is county Councilman Joe Brazil of Defiance. He said the county bought the land for a park and to protect it for public use. That proposed tower and the one at Augusta should not be built. The county instead should build a series of smaller towers, he said. That idea has been rejected because of the added cost and because they wouldn’t be as effective.

The towers are among 35 planned across St. Charles, St. Louis and Jefferson counties as part of a $125 million upgrade aimed at eliminating dead spots in radio coverage for emergency first responders.

We might as well be prepared for more towers in Franklin County. They are coming as sure as is continued growth. In the three counties mentioned, there are more than a million and a half people. Franklin County’s population is more than 100,000. With population growth, there is more need for emergency first responders. Communication is vital.

About all we can do is hope the towers will be located at sites where they don’t do too much damage to the landscape.

/opinion