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Posted: July 21, 2014 8:45 p.m.

City denies cell tower on Monticello

Mayor Ronnie Johnston had to vote Monday to break a 3-3 tie to ultimately deny a request for a new cell phone tower at 6163 Monticello Road in Covington.

Towercom had requested permission to build a 199-foot tower to accomodate AT&T and T-Mobile. Attorney Ellen Smith said after discussions with the council and planning commission, Towercom agreed to lower the tower's height to 169 feet.

She said studies of the tower's proposed location had shown that it would provide the minimum coverage needed and that it would not impact surrounding property values. At the city's request, Towercom researched other sites, including city-owned property, but none worked for the carriers' needs.

After an executive session to hear from the city's attorneys, councilwoman Janet Goodman motioned that the city approve the shorter tower, with councilwoman Ocie Franklin providing a second. Hawnethia Williams joined the pair in approving the tower, but councilmen Chris Smith and Keith Dalton and Mayor Pro-tem Michael Whatley voted against it. Johnston is only allowed to vote to break ties, and did so by siding with Smith, Dalton and Whatley.

Later, on the advice of associate city attorney Frank Turner Jr., the council adopted and passed, again 4-3, a motion to formally deny Towercom's request.

Ellen Smith had no comment after the meeting.

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