Streetsboro planning 190-foot cellular tower at Thomas Heritage Park

By Mike Lesko | GATEWAY NEWS Published:

The city of Streetsboro has negotiated a change of location for a cellular tower from a site just off the square at the center of town to Thomas Heritage Park, where it will be "relatively unobtrusive," Mayor Glenn Broska said.

A business called TowerCo 2013 LLC would be in charge of setting up the 190-foot Verizon tower, according to a City Council document.

There is no timetable yet for construction of the cell tower, the location of which still must be approved by the Streetsboro Planning and Zoning Commission to become a reality.

The 130-acre park is along Route 303 just west of the Target store.

On July 14, City Council voted 6-1 to authorize the ground lease agreement for the cell tower with Council member Jeff Allen dissenting. Allen said he voted against the plan because he believes this is "putting the cart in front of the horse."

"I believe the city charter is clear," Allen said. "It needs to go to the planning commission first. The lease already picked an exact spot for the celltower. It's not Council's position to do that. It's out of our jurisdiction."

The tower was originally to be located behind Harbor Freight Tools on Route 14, "but the city would prefer it to go somewhere else," Broska said.

The cell tower would provide to the city a monthly fee of $1,250, according to the Council document. For each additional telecommunications carrier other than Verizon whose equipment is installed on the tower, $350 a month will be paid.

Allen said $1,250 "is not enough money. If nobody else goes on the tower, we only get $1,250 a month."

Law Director David Maistros said there will be a 5-year initial agreement followed by a 30-year agreement -- six 5-year options. The location is a 100-foot by 100-foot parcel.

Maistros said the specific location within the park, the site design, fencing and other specifics must be reviewed by the commission.

"Council is simply saying, 'We'll agree to the lease agreement which will allow you to erect that tower at that location, and you have to go through the planning process.' The company has to comply with planning commission. If planning commission turns down the company, they can't erect the tower."

Allen said a conditional zoning permit is necessary, and that the planning commission must approve the site plan, adding that if planning commission amends the site plan, it must go back to Council again.

Broska said the reason the site at Thomas Heritage Park was chosen instead of behind Harbor Freight "is because it is back near the woods."

"They are going to paint it a non-obtrusive color that will help it to blend in," Broska said. "There was a lot of thought put into why [the city] wanted to put the tower there [at Thomas Heritage Park].

No matter where the tower is built, Broska said there will likely be some residents nearby who are unhappy with it.

"The site [in the park] was chosen because it is relatively unobtrusive," Broska said. "It is not an area that is going to be developed, per se. I personally do not want to see any tower downtown. We'd much rather put this tower in where we somewhat have control over it, and we'd like to get the revenue from it. [Thomas Heritage Park] is probably one of the least obtrusive places we can put this tower."

Seasons Road resident Paul Yupa said he was disappointed he could not determine an exact location of the proposed tower at the July 14 Council meeting, during which the lease agreement was approved.

"I was also amazed that they were able to pass that with a location before going to planning [commission] or the parks and recreation advisory board first," he said. Yupa said he thinks the tower should be erected in the higher area of the park near the Target store.

In the western area of the park, where the planned tower would likely be located, more residents will have to look at it, he said.

Council member John Ruediger said it "is important that the tower stays out of downtown."

The 130-acre park is along Route 303 just west of the Target store.

Broska said the need for the cellular tower is, they are "being driven by the amount of data transmitted. When you go to a store, take a picture and send it to your wife or husband to see if you're getting the right thing, that is why there is a proliferation of these towers."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

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