PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Several residents Monday night lost a fight to prevent a 150-foot cellphone tower from going up on city property near their homes.
The City Council voted 3-2 to allow Kevin Aycock, president and owner of Dynamic Towers, a special exception permit to build the cell tower on 20 acres of city property.
Mayor JoAnn Faiella and Councilwoman Shannon Martin voted against the plan.
Aycock needed a special exception because the land is zoned open space conservation.
The land is north of Tulip Boulevard, west of Oakner Street, east of Parker Avenue and south of Dalton Circle. The property is home to the city's Public Works stormwater treatment facility.
Aycock would lease the property from the city.
Residents said radiation from cell towers poses health risks, such as cancer, and the towers decrease property values and are unsightly.
"I feel like we're fighting City Hall," said College Park Road resident Bruce Johnson, noting that the city and Aycock would be making money off the deal. "The only ones not making money off this is the citizens who live in this area."
Aycock said there have been thousands of complaints from residents of lack of cellphone service in that area and demand is driving his proposal.
"We just don't pick the areas and build them on spec," he said.
Aycock proposed in February putting a tower on 4.71 acres owned by the Knights of Columbus on the east side of Ravenswood Lane. However, that plan was shot down by the council after it drew several complaints from residents.
Planning Director Daniel Holbrook said the closest home to the proposed Tulip Boulevard tower was more than 360 feet away.
Opponents of the tower presented a petition to the council with 74 signatures.
Vice Mayor Linda Bartz said she would support the plan because Aycock had done what he was previously asked to do by the council — find a larger piece of property to put a tower up.
"It really is mixed because many, many people are getting rid of their home phones and going to cellphones," Bartz said. "We have to put them somewhere until we find something better."
Faiella and Martin objected to the plan.
"I have to respect our residents' wishes, and I'm not going to support this," Martin said.
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