Cell phone tower
Bob Stuart wasn't happy last week when he saw a cell phone tower being erected near Interstate 70 and Kasold Drive.
Stuart, who lives nearby, wondered how the tower could go up by a residential neighborhood without residents being notified ahead of time.
"I've talked to some of my neighbors, and none of them got any notice," Stuart said.
While Stuart wasn't notified, other neighbors were.
Last year, when T-Mobile filed a request for the tower to be placed just outside the Lawrence city limits, notifications were sent to certain nearby residents.
Douglas County requires notifications be sent to residents who live within one mile outside the city limits. Notifications also are supposed to go to owners of city property within 200 feet of the tower property. Stuart said he lives less than a quarter of a mile away, which puts him outside the notification range.
In addition, notifications of public hearings about such projects must be published in the Journal-World.
Stuart doesn't think that notification process is adequate. Many people who live within city limits near the tower site were unaware of it until it was built, he said.
"I guess my problem is, the notification procedure is afoul if someone who lives as close as I do didn't get notified, and I did not," Stuart said.
Douglas County commissioners would like to reduce the number of cell phone towers that are springing up throughout the county. Although the county and city of Lawrence have requirements that telecommunications companies must meet to erect a tower, more needs to be done to regulate them, some city and county leaders have said.
Tonight, the Lawrence City Commission is expected to vote on a resolution establishing a special-use permit fee to pay for an independent review of new telecommunications tower proposals to make sure they meet city code. The review would be conducted by an independent engineer.
County commissioners also have considered implementing a fee to pay for independent reviews of tower requests. A review also would determine if a company could share a tower already in use by another company.
"We're just not in a position to where we have the staff that can determine where a cell tower should be located," County Commissioner Charles Jones said.
The county, however, will watch the city and see how its tower review effort fares, Jones said.
"I think we want to go in that direction, but I think we're of the mind right now to kind of watch the city and see how good their resolution works," he said.
Jones voted against the T-Mobile tower when it was approved in August. Commissioners Bob Johnson and Jere McElhaney voted for approval, saying it met county requirements.