Public hearing scheduled

Published 1:46 pm Wednesday, March 11, 2020

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Polk to hear from residents about changing wireless telecommunication ordinance

COLUMBUS—Area residents can soon voice their opinion on Polk County’s wireless telecommunication ordinance. 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met last week and set a public hearing to amend its current ordinance. 

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Commissioners set the public hearing for 7 p.m. Monday, March 16. 

The board heard from county planner Cathy Ruth about the proposed changes. 

Ruth said in December, commissioners asked the planning board and county manager to look at the ordinance and address the height the county has in it. 

Ruth also said the county will be going from analog to digital service in the next few years. 

On Dec. 19 commissioners requested that the planning board and county manager Marche Pittman review the ordinance to address height and collocation issues to public safety tower facilities. 

Some of the proposed changes are to the definitions. Public Safety Facilities is proposed to be added to mean for the purpose of transmitting and relaying critical voice and data communications for public safety personnel including, but not limited to, emergency services, law enforcement and fire protection services. 

The height is also proposed to be changed for public safety facilities, with the structure not exceeding 200 feet in height, compared to the current ordinance of 120 feet. 

An addition is also being proposed to say that collocation of additional antennas may be located on public safety facilities must meet requirements. The current ordinance states that no antennas shall be placed on the wireless facility or wireless support structure except those dedicated for public safety. 

The Polk County Planning Board voted earlier this year to recommend the changes to the board of commissioners by a unanimous vote. 

The public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Monday in the R. Jay Foster Hall of Justice, located on the second floor of the Womack building in Columbus at the beginning of the commissioners’ regular meeting.