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Concerned residents raise opposition to proposed cellular tower

SOUTH ST. LOUIS-A proposed cellular tower in the Dutchtown neighborhood has some neighbors saying, not so fast.

The developer, Cellective Solutions wants to put the 125-foot-tall tower in a small empty lot near the intersection of Oregon Avenue and Chippewa Street and residents say they are not happy about it.

Michael Pogue has lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years.

He said that though he appreciates change when necessary, putting up a cell tower that would be taller than his house is not what the area needs.

“It’s not designed for a humongous ugly tower to come up,” he said.

Local zoning ordinances require a hearing, neighborhood notification and facilitate community input.

“In order for something like this to go in we do have a zoning ordinance that comes into play,” said Alderwoman Cara Spencer, “but the conditional use for this proposal was denied.”

Spencer said that during a Wednesday afternoon hearing for an appeal, the company asked for more time, saying it will speak with neighbors to get their input.

She added that the state legislature wants to remove local control of wireless infrastructure and the Uniform Small Wireless Facility Deployment Act would give telecom companies the power to place cell phone towers wherever they want. The bill passed the House and is currently making its way through the Senate. It would prohibit permits, fees and zoning laws for many wireless installations and require the telecom companies be able to install on public infrastructure.  It not only strips local control, but removes all taxing authority for local municipalities to drive the revenue cities could use to oversee the safety and proper installation of such facilities.

“What we really need to see is residents to call their state reps and state senators and saying that being able to weigh in on a process like this is super important to me and I do not want to do away with municipal governments ability to have a hearing process,” she said.

Pogue said that not only is he concerned about the tower being out of place, the construction could result in creating a safety hazard for people living there.

“We don’t want a bunch of utility companies coming in and setting a crane up and tying our streets up, drilling into our sewage systems and damaging it or something falls off it and damages a house or a child,” he said.

The proposal will be up for discussion again sometime in May at the Board of Adjustment hearing.

FOX 2 reached out to Jackson Gnaedinger of Cellective Solutions for a comment, but we did not receive a response.

We also reached out to attorney Peter Corsale, who said that he could not comment without first consulting with his client.