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Commission Re-Approves Cell Tower

EUGENE, Ore. — Nearly two years after it was first proposed, a plan for a new cell phone tower jumped through its first hoop for its second time.

Eugene’s planning commission voted to re-approve AT&T’s proposal. The commission voted 4-to-2 in just a matter of minutes Monday morning to re-approve the cell tower proposed to be built on a plot of land at the Oakway Golf Course.

This vote is a green light, but the road is still very long before the tower is close to actually being built.

This is the second time the city planning commission voted to approve the proposed cell tower.

“They’d initially approved it, but then LUBA basically remanded it on two issues, one that they didn’t meet a metro-plan policy about enhancing the neighborhood, and another about a noise study,” said Steve Ochs, Eugene Associate Planner.

The commission says it called on additional evidence and drew from its original research before voting to pass the AT&T proposal again at its Monday meeting.

“It was a very difficult question put in front of the planning commission, I think, on remand, and we know the neighbors aren’t satisfied with this answer either,” Ochs said.

Most of the neighbors affected by the potential tower are not satisfied at all.

“I think the planning commission in their wisdom has rather neglected some of the planning goals, the metro goals, that were all supposed to abide by for the betterment of the community,” said Oakway neighbor Craig McKern.

Those metro goals were the heart of the appeal backed by Oakway neighbors, and others who led the remand–and neighbors say that may not be the last appeal coming.

“I just don’t see how an entire neighborhood’s property rights are subordinate to the property rights of AT&T. Those people don’t even live here,” McKern said.

City planners say there will be a number of opportunities for more opposition, with the majority of the application process still ahead of AT&T.

“AT&T still has to go through a whole other process, and then they have to go through a final PUD process, which can also be appealed, so AT&T still has a long ways to go before they can actually build the tower,” Ochs said.

City planners say the soonest we could see a tower actually go up would be in a year or two, but that timeline all depends on how many other appeals come down the pipeline.

2 comments

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  1. jason marks says:

    the neighbors want their cell phones, just not a signal,

    makes perfect sense?!

    We call those Non Issue NIMBY’s

    Just because, no other real reason.

  2. Craig McKern says:

    We have a signal for our cell phones, if using Verizon, T-mobile, etc. That’s not the “non-issue” issue.
    AT&T has a reception problem in this specific location and wants to solve their
    problem at our expense. That is the short description.
    Cell towers do not belong in this R-1 zoned neighborhood or your neighborhood, Jason;
    such privately owned apparatus belongs in commercial or industrial zoned locations because they are commercial and industrial uses of land.
    Come on over to Oakway Golf Course and have a look at where the proposed placement of a 75 foot tower would be; right in among apartments, single family homes and adjacent to a designated “open space” area. The privately owned golf course has been here since the 1930’s. The associated structures for the golf course were permitted, for the most part, as prior land uses in the R-1 zone in the 1970’s when the apartments and Spyglass were developed. The privately owned structures include the maintenance shop, the pro shop, a
    space used by a catering service and was formerly a couple different cafes, a space used by a massage therapist, and a building constructed for office use that has had a bridge club, a barber shop and a couple other tenants. All of those are low impact light commercial uses, allowed as a variance under R-1 zoning.
    The tower and apparatus are not low impact, not to us.

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