Thursday, September 12, 2013


A decade and more ago I served on the City Plan Commission for several years.  It provided a great deal of Tuesday evening entertainment, and a good bit of work between meetings.  It was a rewarding experience, though.  Monetarily, nada; but the sense of having accomplished some positive things for the community made it worthwhile.

We had a cell tower company come before us requesting a variance for land usage to permit the construction of a tower in downtown Tipton.  This entailed procedures and due diligence on the part of the commission members, then finally a decision.  We rejected the request on perfectly valid grounds, none of which need to be rehearsed here these many years later.  Anyway, the petitioners got into a Huff and drove away.  A Huff is a very useful vehicle, for it often removes annoying people from the scene.

At any rate, the petitioner, as was his right, appealed the decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals.  I might say here that that board over the years displayed significant confidence in the recommendations of the Plan Commission, for seldom did they rule contrary to our decision.  They upheld this ruling, and to this day, there is no cell tower in the center of our city.

We did recommend that, since we have two fine water towers owned by our local utility, cell companies might pursue the possibility of leasing space on the water towers for placement of antennae. Tower companies, of course, are not interested in this sort of thing because they are in the tower business, not the telephone business.  See, phone companies simply lease available space from owners of tall structures.  This is why, as you drive along certain highways you will see completed towers totally devoid of antennae.  Tower built, phone company not interested.

It is my understanding, and I have not researched this, that some cell providers do contract the construction of a tower in certain circumstances.  But this is not about cell phone service, but about some of my fun times as a commissioner.


Shelly said...

Ah, the joys and lessons in public service. I did laugh out loud at the Huff mobile~

Vee said...

Yea for the Tipton Planning Committee! I'm always amused when I see a cell tower masquerading as a church steeple or a tree. So they think we don't know fake when we see it?

Grace said...

I remember seeing a building with big signs on the roof saying that the roof was available for antenna that part of the city didn't have enough ugly stuff on the rooftops...(the huff mobile thing - very funny)

vanilla said...

Shelly, yes, the fun of public service. It is true one can't make everybody happy all the time, and sometimes we can't make anybody happy. Some people went off in a Snit.

Vee, faux steeples? That's just wrong.

Grace, there you go, then. If a roof is void of ugly stuff, put up an ugly sign begging for some.

Sharkbytes said...

Very interesting information. Thanks for preventing one more ugly tower.

vanilla said...

Shark, the "uglies" do seem to proliferate. Our issue now is the stupid "wind farms."