'Residents have concerns, and I think it should be taken off the table,' Mayor Milissa Holland said.
Palm Coast residents have long complained about the city's spotty cell phone coverage, and a proposal for a new, 150-foot cell tower at the Palm Harbor Golf Club was supposed to help improve it. But locals who turned out at City Council meetings about the proposed tower have overwhelmingly opposed it — citing worries about the safety of 5G technology and how the tower will affect the area's views — and the council on Jan. 19 voted unanimously to reject the golf club location.
"I just want to thank you for the residents' participation in this process. I want to thank you for your patience; I want to thank you for your understanding of how this process works."
— MILISSA HOLLAND, Palm Coast mayor
"This is a process: It is a public process," Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland said at the council's Jan. 19 meeting. "So when we have things on the agenda and the public comes to speak, I am very grateful for that moment. ... I took a tremendous amount of time listening to your concerns, put a lot of thought into what I think would be helpful and appropriate moving forward, and I just want to thank you for the residents' participation in this process. I want to thank you for your patience; I want to thank you for your understanding of how this process works."
Holland then motioned to reject the Palm Harbor Golf Club location and the proposed lease with tower company Diamond Communications, removing the golf club site from the city's Wireless Master Plan list of potential tower locations.
Councilman Victor Barbosa seconded Holland's motion.
Councilman Ed Danko, who'd criticized the proposed tower location in previous meetings, asked Holland why she was making the motion.
"I've thought about it, and we often listen to resident concerns — and residents have concerns — and I think it should be taken off the table," Holland said.
"I agree," Danko said.
Residents who spoke at the meeting thanked Holland and the council for listening.
"I'm so proud to be part of a community like this," resident Andy Barr said. "I had faith that you guys were going to be representing the people. ... So, thank you so much for taking a moment and listening to the community, and we're very, very grateful."
Palm Coast had entered into an agreement with Diamond Communications in 2017 to identify cell coverage gaps and city government-owned land where new towers could be built to fill them. Diamond had identified 10 gaps and 29 potential tower locations, including the golf club. The proposed towers must come before the council for approval before construction.