Gage County Board Approves Cell Tower Permit

BEATRICE – The Gage County Board has approved a special use permit for an existing cell phone tower northwest of Beatrice, going against a recommendation from the county’s planning and zoning commission.

The commission recently recommended denial of the permit on a 4-0 vote, because splitting the property purchased for the tower, meant the project no longer met setback requirements.

Some board members questioned today how the matter was handled, some saying the issue should have gone before a variance board, first.

The location is part of a Viaero Wireless acquisition of 22 sites for an expansion of coverage.  Mike Harms of Grand Island…a spokesman for Viaero, asked for supervisors’ approval of the permit.

:37                  “type of property”

A ten-acre site was split into two parts….one of those acquired by Viaero.  That triggered a non-conforming use under county zoning regulations, regarding the setback distance from other structures.

Supervisor Erich Tiemann spoke in support of granting the special use permit.

:14                  “our current regs”

The board’s vote to approve the permit was 5-1, with one member absent.  Supervisor John Hill was the lone opposition vote, because he felt the issue should have gone to a variance board.

:11                  “to address it”

Hill said he wasn’t opposed to the project, itself.

Harms said discussion about the tower began early in the year.  The special use permit application wasn’t filed with the county planning commission, until August.  Viaero Wireless is purchasing just over four acres from Tallgrass Energy, where the free standing, approximately 200-foot tower is located.  The tower was built in 1982.

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