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Published: Friday, 2/9/2007

T-Mobile to reconsider site of cell phone tower

Tension between some South Toledo homeowners and those wishing to erect a 130-foot-tall cellular phone tower on a nearby golf course were diffused momentarily yesterday when the phone company said it would reconsider the tower's location.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to put it in an area that wouldn't bug you guys," Mark Jones, a representative for T-Mobile USA Inc., told concerned residents who attended the Toledo Plan Commission meeting.

More than a dozen area homeowners attended the meeting to show opposition to a proposal by T-Mobile and Heather Downs Land Development Ltd. to build the monopole antenna tower on a 60-by-40-foot patch of Heather Downs Country Club that is close to their neighborhoods.

"We have concerns," said Kevin Smith, who lives with his wife, Kathy, along Holly Hill Drive near the proposed tower. "We bought the house that we live in because we have an unfettered view of the golf course."

The companies' request for a special-use permit would have allowed construction of the tower in the residentially zoned area. Structures in residential zones typically are limited to just 35 feet of height.

However, Mr. Jones told commissioners during the meeting that "due to the obvious opposition to this particular cell tower location," the companies are reconsidering their plan.

Mr. Jones said T-Mobile and the development company will schedule a meeting with neighbors this month to discuss alternative sites. They also are to present revised plans for the tower to the commission next month.

Toledo Council President Rob Ludeman, who lives at 1861 Glen Ellyn Drive, was among the neighbors who were unenthusiastic about the tower. He said his house is about 30 feet from the golf course, and would be in line of sight of the tower's originally proposed location.

Mr. Ludeman said he was concerned that a tower would be unattractive and lower home values, and was wary of allowing a precedent to be set that would make it easier to build cellular towers in residential areas.

"That could open the floodgates to one, two, three, or more towers in one of the most contiguous residential areas in South Toledo," Mr. Ludeman said.

In other matters yesterday, commissioners voted to grant an artist an exception from city design regulation standards that will allow him to build a studio of wavy, corrugated metal siding and exposed concrete block near downtown Toledo.

The two-story, postmodern structure will be reminiscent of a home that renowned architect Frank Gehry once built for himself in Santa Monica, Calif.

Commissioners agreed that the studio, to be situated at 338 22nd St. within the 52-block UpTown area, met the exemption qualifications of being "unique" and "one of a kind."



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