Temporary tower causes permit problems

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Walking-TrailPeople in the Mobridge area could temporarily lose cell phone service if Verizon doesn’t comply with an ordinance concerning a “cell on wheels” transmission tower.

Mobridge Zoning Officer Haden Bowie told the city council Monday, June 3, that the 90-foot high temporary tower the company wants to move in while they update the current transmission system, does not conform to code in the area in which they want it to be placed. Verizon is working with West River Telecommunications for use of their towers at the Mobridge office, to secure the temporary tower. The temporary tower must be near the transmission source and is a non-conforming structure, therefore codes apply and a building permit is required.

Bowie told the council she researched similar situations in other communities and also contacted Harley Overseth and Mobridge City Attorney Rick Cain for their opinions concerning the dilemma. It is agreed that the building permit is required for the temporary tower. The required permit request has been emailed to Verizon and Bowie requested a special council session to approve the building permit in order to avoid any disruption of service to the community.

The council agreed to a special meeting, but because the meeting is the direct cause of an outside entity, Verizon will be charged a $175 fee by the city.

Bowie also requested the council review a request from Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics for a new sign that will be placed in the right-way-way along 10th Avenue West. The sign would be in the boulevard area, which is the public access. The Mobridge Planning and Zoning Board cannot grant the building permit because the sign would be in a public access area.

MRH&C CEO Angie Svihovec asked the council to consider the request as placing the sign on the boulevard is the most desirable option for the facility. She said putting the sign in the parking lot would take up parking space, which is at a minimum at the facility and would also cause a safety risk for people, especially children, in the parking lot. She said the view obstruction could be dangerous for children coming from parked vehicles to the entrance of the facility.

Mayor Jamie Dietterle suggested MRH&C officials work with the planning and zoning board and consider other options before requesting the variance for the sign placement. Mobridge Water Department Manager Brad Milliken told the council that there may be complications with the sign placement because of storm sewer lines in the boulevard. The sign could also cause problems with snow removal from the area.

Svihovec agreed to work with the planning and zoning board, and the council will address the situation at the next meeting.

 

Trail Grant

City Administrator Steve Gasser requested permission to apply for a Department of Transportation grant that would allow the city to complete its portion of the planning extension of the walking trail to Revheim Park. Gasser said the $2.2 million grant is available and there are 19 communities seeking grant funding.

He reminded the council the first section of the trail was completed in the 1990s and this is the last phase of the city’s portion of the trail that will eventually connect Indian Creek to Main Street.

“After 22 years, we are finally getting near the end of this,” he told the council. “We have a leg up on the other communities because this is something that has been planned for a long and we have the support of the Game, Fish and Parks and the county. It is worth taking a shot getting the funding.”

The city’s portion of the project funding is $137,000, which would need to be in the 2014 budget.

Ward III Councilman Gene Cox asked from where the city’s portion would come. He asked if some service funding would have to be cut in order to fund the city’s portion.

Finance Officer Heather Beck told the council the funding source would have to be determined by the budget requests for next year. There is some funding that has been set aside to finish the project, but not enough to cover the costs. She said if the funding cannot be budgeted, the city could turn down the grant and send it back to the state.

The council approved the requested to apply for the grant.

– Katie Zerr –

 
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