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Cell tower back on council agenda
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A rejected cell phone tower on Monticello Street is on the Covington City Council’s agenda again Monday, but Mayor Ronnie Johnston says it’s essentially to complete paperwork. He doesn’t expect anything to change.

“My understanding is they’ve not reapplied for a special use permit,” he said Thursday. “This is just kind of wrapping it up, I guess you could say. The answer is, ‘No, they’re not reapplying.’ But we’re finishing, we have to do this ‘additional written decision supported by substantial evidence in the written record for cell phone denial.’”

Johnston said the federal government requires a detailed rejection notice – in this case, nine pages. The notice lists the decision, findings of fact and the rationale for denial.

TowerCom V LLC’s application to build a 199-foot tower at 6163 Monticello Street was rejected 4-3 at the council’s July 21 meeting. Five residents spoke in opposition to the tower.

The written denial, as submitted by City Clerk Audra Gutierrez, reads in part: “It is the decision of this Council that the detrimental effect on surrounding residential properties outweighs the needs of the Applicant and that the proposed tower will have a significant negative impact on adjacent and nearby residential properties.”

Federal law does not allow local governments to consider “any concerns related to health hazards from radio waves of electromagnetic fields,” according to the written denial.

TowerCom offered at the July 21 meeting to lower the tower’s height to 169 feet. TowerCom attorney Ellen Smith refused to comment on the city’s decision.

The City Council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.