No Welcome Mat

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A new cell tower did not receive a neighborly welcome by residents near Bay Point, and their opposition won over the approval by the Bay County Planning Commission to deny permission for Sprint PCS to plant a cell tower in between the Preserve and Delwood Point.

Deanne Sollenbarger, a resident of The Preserve, says those in this private neighborhood are not thrilled about the tall tower.

"Well, the ones we were able to contact felt very strongly this would be a problem of visual pollution for the area, that it would be a negative impact on our home values."

Jim Anders, an agent for Louisiana Unwired, asked the commission to allow them to build a 120-foot cell tower on wooded property owned by local attorney Mitch Dever. Dever couldn’t believe the crowd who showed up to protest the tower at Monday's meeting.

"As the property owner, I don't want to upset or offend anyone else in the surrounding areas, but I certainly didn't think it would cause this kind of show in here today."

The project engineer told uneasy residents and the commissioners this location was necessary for the best possible service. He also said no tree would be removed and the tower would not be lit causing any disturbance to the surrounding neighborhood. Still, the voice of quick opposition was very clear.

Delwood resident Rick Weise says he thinks it could even interfere with his television.

"It certainly would be an eyesore in this kind of setting."

And Jeff Taylor agreed with Weise, saying it could cost the community.

"Well, I'm concerned the antenna is going to affect the property values and the quality of life here in the neighborhood."

The planning commission voted three to one to deny permission to build the cell tower, saying even though the company met the county standard, public opposition had to be considered.

Louisiana unwired has 10 days to file an appeal that would go before the Bay County commission. The commission has overturned the planning board on the last six times there has been an appeal.