The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

County Board denies permit to place cell tower near airstrip

-By Sally Day, The Quill

Despite the fact that the antennae company wishing to place a cellular tower up in Henderson County, had FFA approval, Henderson County Board members voted down the request at the Tuesday, September 11, 2012 meeting.

Henderson Board member Gail Russell, acting Chairman in the absence of Marty Lafary, asked if moving the tower 600' would change the reception. He also asked the radius of coverage. Alexander Novak, representing the antennae company argued that cellular company did not want to move the tower; that this was the best location for the best reception by the cell phone company.

This variance had been discussed by the Zoning Committee and the Board at last month's meeting. Novak argued that his company had already moved the planned location once and that they were there to serve the best interests of the community and their customers.

G.W. Giertz, Asset Management Trust owns the property which Verizon had leased for the purpose of placing their cell tower. Five other cell companies would have utilized the cell tower.

Matt Defenbaugh, a licensed pilot and owner of the air strip, quietly sat throughout the meeting, waiting on the fate of the air strip. Defenbaugh's problem with the tower was that it was to be located within the field of vision as take-offs and landings were made. The strobe light on top of the tower would also be a distraction. He had utilized the air strip for several years. This was a point which many of the Board members agreed upon - Defenbaugh and the air strip were there first. One point that Russell made was the FFA could have changed their mind at any point in the future and asked for Defenbaugh to move the air strip. He had seen it happen before and did not want it to happen again. At least two of the Board members are pilots. Russell asked Novak if his company would pay Defenbaugh to move the air strip. Novak did not respond to this.

The Board unanimously denied the permit to place the cell tower at that location.

Emergency Management Officer Coral Seitz told Board members that on this Saturday, September 15, a full-scale exercise in emergency training will be held. A mock air plane crash will be acted out at Gladstone Lake beginning at 9 a.m. The event is open to the public, who is encouraged to convene on the north side of the Lake.

In other business, the Board:

Henderson County Clerk, Sandra Keane was present at the meeting to request the Board increase the fees in civil court cases 50 percent, to $75.00. She mentioned that all six counties in the circuit had agreed to this increase. The monies go into the general fund. A unanimous vote passed the motion.