Public hearing Monday

Published 11:10 pm Sunday, March 17, 2019

Polk to hear comments on amendments to its wireless communication ordinance 


COLUMBUS—Polk County Commissioners have scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Monday to hear comments on amendments to the county’s wireless communication ordinance.  

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Commissioners met last week and scheduled the public hearing.  

Polk County Planner Cathy Ruth said the planning board requested a public hearing because of federal changes required to incorporate into small cellular towers.  

Ruth said the planning board discussed if they could make Carrier on Wheels or Cell on Wheels, like were used at the World Equestrian Games more aesthetically pleasing.  

Ruth said there is really no way how to do that. The county is proposing to add language for COWs to say that for the purpose of this ordinance, temporary shall be defined as limited to 60 days within a 365-day period.  

For COWs, language is also being proposed to say that drawings must depict improvements related to the applicable requirements including boundaries, setbacks, topography, elevation sketch and dimensions of COW, height of which shall not exceed 120 feet, and must be located 150 feet from any structure and 150 feet from any property line.  

There is also new language proposed for small wireless facilities.  

Ruth said on COWs, the planning board has addressed height limits and made sure there are fall zones.  

“Safety is always an issue with towers,” Ruth said.  

She mentioned a recent case during a tornado in Alabama where a tower fell across an interstate.  

County Manager Marche Pittman said since the county is opening up the ordinance, he attended a public broadband internet workshop recently and some of the things discussed there pertained to how internet is not available in rural areas. He suggested adding a public interest clause to the ordinance to allow for broadband on towers.  

County Attorney Jana Berg said the county could modify the planning board’s recommendation to allow for that.  

The public hearing will occur at the beginning of the county’s next meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 18. The meeting is held in the R. Jay Foster Hall of Justice, located on the second floor of the Womack building in Columbus.