Relay tower gains approval in the township

This article submitted by Peter Jacobson on 4/19/00.

The Paynesville Township Board spent much of their meeting on April 10 holding two public hearings and discussing a proposed guide tower that will be constructed in the southwestern corner of the township. Public hearings were held first on the height of the proposed tower, and then on whether to allow a guide tower rather than a self-supporting structure. The current township regulations limited the height of a tower to 200 feet, and required a self-supporting tower.

Rick Adams, representing Comtrack, Inc., and working for Cellular Mobile Systems on this project, discussed the need for better cellular service in the Paynesville area. He also pointed out several federal government mandates for cellular service. Those included better service in all areas of the United States, particularly rural, and the location of the position of 911 cellular calls by the towers to within 150 yards. This location feature is not possible now with the present cellular coverage in Paynesville Township.

Adams discussed the need for a 340- foot tower rather than the 200 feet allowed by the current township ordinance. The 340-foot tower will be a multi-tenant tower, with space for several carriers to install antennas. This arrangement is a lot better, he argued, than each carrier constructing their own tower in the same vicinity.

This proposed tower also needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration because of its proximity to the new airport being planned for Paynesville. The location, on land owned by David Schmidt in the southwest corner of the township, should be acceptable to the FAA, according to Adams. The FAA acceptance has not been received, but Adams has had a consulting firm of former FAA officials study the issue, and they believe the site should allow this proposed tower, based on FAA guidelines.

Following the close of the first hearing concerning the height issue, the board voted to grant a variance to allow the 340-foot tower with an additional 20-foot antenna and lightning arrestor.

The second issue with the proposed tower involved whether to construct a self-supporting tower as allowed by current township ordinance, or a guide tower as requested by Adams.

The cost is a large factor, according to Adams.

"A 240-foot self-supporting, single tenant tower costs around $250,000, while a 340-foot multiple tenant guide wire tower costs around $100,000," Adams said.

A guide wire tower would be 42 inches wide on each side, giving it a much smaller profile and less visual impact than a self-supporting tower that would be 54 feet wide at the base, according to Adams.

The township board voted to amend its zoning ordinance to allow guide towers in addition to self-supporting towers within the township.

Adams said the construction on the tower should start around May 25 and be "on air" by June 15, pending FAA approval.

Jeff Bertram, J & M Consulting, has been contacted for help with the County 124 road issue and the proposed trail along County 124. The consulting fee will be about $5,000, with the fee being split evenly between the township and the city of Paynesville.

The board had received a petition from Willie Scheel and Bert Ruprecht for orderly annexation of land lying west of Paynesville city limits and north of the North Fork Crow River and west of Highway 23. The board moved to accept the petition.

The board has received bids totalling about $4420 to provide material and erect a fence to house the recycling center being considered by the township. The construction could be funded by a SCORE funds grant totalling $5,000. The recycling center will be located near the arena, and will potentially be open to the public on Saturdays. Hours are yet to be determined. The board decided to proceed with the project at their meeting; however, obstacles have arisen since the meeting which may complicate this issue, according to Don Pietsch, township board chairman.

Applications for the part-time maintenance person have been received, and Warren Nehring will be setting up appointments for interviews.

Discussion concerning snow removal for the winter 2000-2001 has begun. Thielen Construction, Eden Valley, and Gabrielson Excavating, Paynesville, both plow snow in adjacent townships. Discussions will center around who might be able to do which road for Paynesville Township. The township plans to continue to do its own sanding.

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