Location near residential district prompts debate
The most discussion at the Feb. 17 Wyoming City Council meeting came during the open forum. About 30 residents attended the meeting – many after attending a Planning Commission meeting – in response to a proposed cell tower in an open space near a residential area of the city.
The Wyoming Planning Commission had listened to a request from Verizon about its preferred tower site near 250th Street, north of US-8 and slightly west of Comfort Lake. The Planning Commission tabled action until the company provided additional information.
During the council meeting, residents aired concerns about aesthetics, lost property value, environmental impact and potential violation of the city’s zoning codes. Their collective opinion was that other tower sites in the city have not been explored.
Bonnie Christensen, a Hale Avenue resident, objected to the location, citing sections of the city’s zoning code related to visual impact. Section 40-772-f-2 states “sites with the least visual impact on residential areas and which are the most consistent with the community’s rural character shall be given preference.” Section 40-776-1 states that using color and camouflage, “towers and antennas shall be designed to blend into the surrounding environment.”
The City of Wyoming Comprehensive Plan identifies the location as a low-density suburban neighborhood. The proposed site is in the middle of an open field. Christensen also was concerned about the city setting precedent by approving the location. She also mentioned the ratio of set-back distances and tower height.
Resident Denise Davis said Verizon should be required to present an environmental study.
Others felt Verizon should explore locating technology on existing communications sites before building in a residential area.
The issue will be discussed during at least one more Planning Commission meeting before any recommendation comes before the City Council.
Wyoming’s newest police officers were sworn in at the council meeting. Officers Aaron Anderson and Lyndsay Hicken were to begin their work in the Police Department immediately.
Sgt. Lance Beardsley’s promotion became official during the meeting. It came with an advancement to Step 2 in the wage scale.
The City Council adopted an assessment policy for financing streets. City Administrator Craig Mattson said that projects will be individually evaluated by the council, but the assessment policy will help. Costs for new streets are assessed at 100 percent. Repairs are financed, but any street improvements beyond that are assessed.
Council members approved a change in status for Jeanine Rabe, administrative assistant/records clerk, from probationary to regular employee. The promotion is from Step 3 to Step 4 in the wage scale.
Wyoming’s Local Board of Appeal and Equalization meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, April 21, at City Hall. Residents with property valuation concerns can discuss them with the Chisago County auditor.