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AT&T tower issue tabled, budget approved

By Staff, 01/20/21 10:10 AM

PRESCOTT – Members of the Prescott City Council weren’t sworn in at the January meeting Tuesday night, primarily because it was a virtual meeting and both the mayor and Nevada County Clerk were quarantined with COVID-19.

However, the meeting went on regardless with Robert Loe, city clerk, facilitating. Two items on the agenda were removed, one being the 2019 audit as no representative from Turner, Rogers, Manning and Plyler was available, and the other, recognition of Employee of the Year, because Mayor Terry Oliver wasn’t on hand for the presentation. This left three items to be discussed.

The first was a request by Gregg Staggs of CRB Companies, LLC, to allow construction of a 200-foot tall tower for AT&T on 31 acres of land owned by Bobby Glass. Staggs told the council he’s been working with the mayor on this project for a while and needed council approval so the work could begin. According to Staggs, this tower will improve the cellular signal in Prescott and part of Nevada County, and include First Net for first responders. He pointed out 90 percent of 911 calls are made using cell phones as few people have landlines anymore.

He informed the council a 100×100 foot area would be leased on the property and the project would run about $250,000. He added the tower meets the required specifications and there’s a 250-foot clearing between it and any residence.

City Attorney Glenn Vasser said the area in question is zoned residential and this is a commercial venture. He told Staggs under the city’s zoning ordinance all landowners in the area must be notified and a public hearing held so they can voice their opinion before the council could act on it.

Councilman Ivory Curry said he was excited about getting something new, but the zoning requirements need to be met before the project can move forward.

Staggs said he wasn’t informed of this and has been dealing with the mayor.

Vasser pointed out he’d written a detail letter to the company and mayor about this, letting them know the requirements.

Loe said Oliver thought the property in question was outside the city limits. The property is along Moore’s road. Vasser said it’s just inside the city limits and this was brought to his attention last year when he wrote to Staggs, CRB and talked with Oliver.

Staggs said the tower would be 250-feet from all residences, calling thisĀ  a “fall zone” and, if the tower fell, it wouldn’t hit any homes.

Jerry Hightower questioned why it would be necessary to go through the normal channels if the entire parcel wasn’t being rezoned.

Vasser said it would change the zone restrictions of the property, regardless of where the tower is on the property.

Hightower argued the current zoning ordinance is outdated and suggested the matter be tabled until CRB follows the proper protocol

Bobby Glass, the property owner, said the area is in the far corner of the land and didn’t understand why all this needed to be done. The issue was tabled till the February meeting.

Hightower moved to have Vasser removed as counsel for the city as he owns property adjoining the proposed site. Vasser chimed in saying the land he owns isn’t adjoining, but is close. The motion was rescinded.

From there, the council voted on the meeting time and date for 2021, choosing to leave them the same. The council will meet the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

The final order of business was approval of the 2021 budget. Carl Dalrymple, city accountant, said he’d met twice with the council’s budget committee and plans are to meet quarterly and keep an eye on the budget.

Councilman Howard Austin questioned several areas projected to end the year in the red, such as the sewer department, general administration utility, rural water, the fire and police departments and sanitation, along with municipal court.

Dalrymple said these departments always run in the red as they don’t generate revenue, adding this is the norm. He added, the money brought in the the electric department covers these deficits and the city should end up on the black – unless something unexpected happens.