Neighbors Oppose Tower
Now one Columbia neighborhood wants to hang up on plans to build one of those towers in their back yard. City officials said the tower on Forum Boulevard will be 95 feet tall and resemble a flag pole. Residents near the proposed tower may have major problems with their new neighbor.
Julie Clark Walters lives in the Highlands in Columbia, and works nearby. She's upset with the approval of a new cell phone tower in front of her business.
"I mean, not just a tower that's next to my business or next to one of these homes, but as you come into the Highlands, that's setting what the Highlands is going to look like," Walters said.
The Columbia Board of Adjustment approved the tower at a meeting this week. The city gave legal notice to residents and business owners near the tower, like Walters. But other residents further away say they didn't get notice, and should have. The Highland Homeowners Association said no notice kept it from making a good defense.
"The variance had spent months and a lot of money lining up eight or so so-called experts, a PowerPoint presentation and a whole dog-and-pony show they'd obviously spent months on. So for us to come in and refute that with about two days' notice, was I don't think the way it was supposed to happen and obviously had its effect," Tom O'Neal, of the Highlands Homeowners Association, said.
But city officials say they had no reason to reject the tower proposal.
"If there's a good reason not to put it there, and we can cite that good reason, then we can say no. But if it's just because it's not pretty, we can't do that," Martha John, a Board of Adjustment member, said.
If there's enough interest, the Homeowners Association says they will look into appealing the decision.