Cell tower ordinance amendments approved
Published 11:57 pm Thursday, March 21, 2019
One resident asks county to do what is necessary for better cell service
COLUMBUS—Polk County approved amendments to its wireless communication ordinance this week and heard from one resident who encouraged the county to do whatever it can to help improve cell service.
Commissioners met Monday and held a public hearing prior to approving the amendments. The amendments included changes to comply with federal requirements for small cell towers and restrictions to Carrier on Wheels or Cell on Wheels, like were used at the World Equestrian Games.
Some of the language added for COWs includes heights cannot exceed 120 feet and must be located 150 feet from any structure and 150 feet from any property line.
The county also included a public interest clause to the ordinance to allow for broadband on towers.
During public comments, Mike Rigney said he lives in Hunting Country and was representing horse farms between Interstate 26 and Red Fox Road where there is no useable cell coverage the last seven years he has been here. He said with no viable access to internet service, people rely solely on cellular service and the cell service does not exist in a viable form.
“You are in an area that is unviable for service,” Rigney said. “I encourage you to do whatever you can to bring the technology to allow people to be able to thrive in this area as opposed to driving them out.”
Commissioners decided after Rigney’s comments to direct the Polk County Planning Board to look at the telecommunication and zoning ordinances for areas that are underserved for cell and Internet services.
One of the issues in Hunting Country is that it is zoned RE-5 and does not allow cell towers.
Commissioner Ray Gasperson said cell and Internet services are no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
“When people start to purchase property and homes, they are going to start wanting good service,” Gasperson said.
County Manager Marche Pittman said he will provide a list of areas that are underserved in the county for the planning board to study.