ANDERSON – Plans to erect a 160-foot cell tower near St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital were defeated by the Anderson Board of Zoning Appeals.
“It’s clearly the wrong site,” said Greg Spencer, a member of the BZA. “The neighbors don’t want it and there are plenty of other sites.”
Verizon Wireless requested several variances from the board including one for height requirements, rear setbacks and green space requirements for the construction of the tower and a 250-square-foot maintenance facility on a .092 acre site.
Will Gooden, an attorney representing Verizon, said the tower would improve wireless coverage for both customers and for public safety use. He described the tower as “minimally evasive.”
“Wireless is the new age of infrastructure,” he told the zoning appeals board.
City planning officials recommended the approval of the proposed exceptions allowing Verizon to “better serve their customers,” but Spencer said the proposed construction would be “injurious.”
Spencer said the site was a threat to public welfare and too close to neighboring buildings creating an adverse effect on the surrounding properties and residents living there.
More than a dozen people attended the meeting on Wednesday to remonstrate against construction of the cellular tower.
Roger Cowgill, an employee at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital, said the hospital was unaware of the plans to construct a tower three blocks to the east of hospital.
“The president and vice president did not know anything about it,” he said.
Cowgill also brought a LifeLine pilot and flight nurse to talk about the safety of erecting the tower so close to the hospital and in an area used for flight patterns.
Spencer made a motion to approve the variances requested by Verizon Wireless and then voted against the petitioned exceptions noting the negative impact of each requested variance. The variances were denied.