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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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9/19/2013 4:49:00 PM
Cottonwood to allow 90-foot cell towers
Cell towers, disguised or not, have been a topic of controversy in Cottonwood.
Cell towers, disguised or not, have been a topic of controversy in Cottonwood.

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

COTTONWOOD -- The Cottonwood Council chambers was standing room only Tuesday. Not everyone was thrilled with an ordinance eventually approved 4-to-2 by the Council. Ordinance 600 modifies the city's code on wireless communication or cell towers so that they could be approved to a height of up to 90-feet tall.

The city's code currently limits towers to no more than 60-feet. City Attorney Steve Horton said the ordinance would provide "flexibility" so the city would not be futilely forced into a federal court to defend code that might be doomed. Wireless communication providers are "entitled" to provide adequate service under federal law. In order for the council to allow the exception under the new code, the applicant would be required to demonstrate the same evidence as would be required in a court of law.

Randy Garrison led the voice of opposition to the code. He insisted that the code should require any applicant to limit placement to commercial or industrial zoning and that a provision that the council "may" require a hearing should be mandatory.

"We are already being served well," said Garrison. "What is the benefit to the city other than staying out of court? How many other communities allowed their codes to be changed?"

"Ours is more restrictive," the attorney clarified.

Terrence Pratt said he has received a lot of comments on the ordinance proposal, especially "about the aesthetics" of the towers. He also agreed with Garrison that any towers should be limited to Commercial or Industrial zoning.

"In no way are we giving our authority away," insisted Ruben Jauregui. "But I don't have a problem with the Industrial or Commercial area" restriction.

Tim Elinski suggested that everyone wants the convenience of a cell phone, but no one wants a cell tower in their back yard.

AT&T has proposed a 90-foot tower on the Aspen Street property of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

The audience was packed with many people who were organized to oppose the forthcoming APS smart meters and spoke fervently against them. But they also opposed the cell towers.

Elaine Brown, of the Village of Oak Creek, has spoken repeatedly against wireless tower installations, which she said are linked to "cancer clusters" in San Francisco and San Diego studies. She warned that once you permit one, others will follow.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013
Article comment by: Think Rural


Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013
Article comment by: Get Over It

My goodness! The comments are so funny to read, we need a tower in our community. Times are changing, we live in an ERA of smart phones and technology. Who cares where it is located, it's not your home and I would imagine it will not interfere with your daily routine. If you don't like it, get over it or move to another town.

Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013
Article comment by: Too Funny

Here we go again. I laughed when I read they said "only in commercial or industrial areas. How do you not see a 90 foot tower from anywhere in the City. Even if you don't live next door, you might live a block or two away. Silliest thing, well, one of the silliest things I have heard since the last counsel meeting. How many do they think they need at 90 feet?

Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013
Article comment by: Warren Woodward

90 foot plastic trees are gonna really dress up Cottonwood. You all are so lucky to have Council members who understand that. And the City Attorney, what courage!

Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: Elaine Brown

It is a sad day for Cottonwood and all who enter the city. Let's not forget the direct hit to our veterans...

I will continue to oppose cell tower placement near residents. I do it only out of love for my neighbor. There is no personal gain in knowing the truth about what this is doing to our children and ourselves.

In ten years, when the lawsuits arrive en masse, and they will, by design falling to local planning and zoning commissions and local government, the record will show that people were informed and chose not to listen.

My best.

Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Article comment by: Get over It!

If this were a pristine city, it may make sense to require the towers to look like trees ( as Mesa has). But this is not Camelot!. What is the big deal about putting a tower by the VFW which is next to the huge elephant in the city... The huge pile of black slag! The fact is most areas of the city would look better with a cell tower to detract from the blight!

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