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Palm Coast Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020 1 year ago

City Council delays vote on proposed Palm Harbor Golf Course cell tower

Also: Palm Coast's bond rating improves.
by: Jonathan Simmons Senior Editor

Palm Coast City Council members at a Dec. 15 meeting opted to delay a vote on a proposed cell tower on the Palm Harbor Golf Course. 

The council had considered the 150-foot monopole tower in a workshop the previous week, and had looked ready to approve it: It’s one of a series of towers that had been proposed as part of the city’s Wireless Master Plan, developed in concert with tower construction company Diamond Communications in 2017 in order to fill cell service gaps in the city by placing towers on public land.

The locations of the proposed towers had been selected ahead of time, the council had cleared out some administrative procedures so that towers that are part of the plan can be approved with an expedited permitting process, and council members entered the meeting believing they would be voting on whether to approve a lease for Diamond’s use of the land.

But they encountered complaints from residents of the residential area near the tower, who pointed out that the tower site appeared to have been moved several hundred feet from an originally proposed spot in the master plan — behind the golf course’s restaurant — to one near a maintenance building.

The public comment discussion devolved into a series of contentious exchanges between Mayor Milissa Holland – who said the topic of discussion was the lease agreement itself, and that public comments on the agenda item must therefore be confined to the lease — and residents who wanted to speak about the particular site location or their concerns that 5G technology might have health impacts. Repeatedly, Holland interrupted speakers to tell them to confine their discussion to the lease.

“In the original agreement by the master plan, it was supposed to go next to the Green Lion,” resident Lou Vitale said.

“Sir, this is about the lease agreement,” Holland said. 

“Well, I just want to say that something has changed and therefore the lease agreement is invalid,” Vitale said. “... The lease agreement has coordinates of the tower. The master plan has different coordinates of the tower.”

City and Diamond Tower staff at first couldn’t answer Holland’s questions about whether the location had changed, but then said the master plan had identified the parcel of land, but not the exact spot within the parcel.

The council voted unanimously to table the cell tower proposal until its Jan. 19 meeting.







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