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Vote Expected on Wireless Tower

A last-ditch effort to scuttle a proposed 145-foot cell tower will come down to a vote Monday.

Two weeks ago, residents of the neighborhood at the northwest corner of Baldwin and Waldon pleaded with the Orion Township Board of Trustees not to approve Verizon’s request to erect a monopole near their homes. The board postponed the vote to gather more information about safety, particularly the fall zone around the proposed site.

Since then, the township’s attorney, Daniel Kelly, engineering consultant OHM and the manufacturer of the monopole have all weighed in.

“Our ordinances do not provide for any specific limitations based upon ‘fall zones,’” Kelly wrote in a letter to the board. He added that the proposed site is 230 feet from the nearest residential structure.

James Stevens, an engineer from OHM, said he believes the tower “is in substantial compliance with the township’s ordinances and standards.”  He agreed that the township’s ordinances don’t mention fall zones.

Sabre Industries, which manufactures the monopoles, said the proposed structure is designed for a basic wind speed of 90 mph, or 40 mph with an inch of ice on it. The company wrote that even in an “extreme wind event,” the pole is designed to collapse on itself. “In the unlikely event of total separation the monopole will be designed to collapse within a radius of 72.5 feet,” the company wrote in a letter.

In addition to safety, residents are concerned about the effect of the monopole on the aesthetics of their neighborhood and their property values. But Kelly said Verizon has met the demands of the federal telecommunications act governing such requests.

“The only requirement at issue … is the issue of whether or not the petitioner has demonstrated the ‘operating requirements necessitate the location proposed’ and that other facilities are not available within the same general area,” he wrote.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the township hall.

Also on the agenda Monday

The board will consider adopting of rules and guidelines for the Orion Center Fitness Center, which is now ready to operate.

The board will consider amending a consent judgment for Heron Springs, a proposed 162-unit residential development slated for the south side of Silver Bell east of fire Station 2.

The board will consider whether to declare a first reading on an amended Planned Unit Development proposal for Village Square PUD, 3590 Baldwin.

The board will consider whether to amend a consent judgment for Dutton Ravines, a 141-unit, single-family residential development proposed by Pulte for the west side of Squirrel between Silver Bell and Dutton.

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