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Hillsborough may expand cell tower study
USA Created: 22 Aug 2010
TAMPA - After two contentious meetings about cell tower setbacks, Hillsborough County commissioners may decide today whether to take a new approach.

At issue is whether a proposed study about how much the towers should be separated from homes should also include other issues, such as how the towers look.

Commissioners asked county planners to gather public input on whether a study is needed to look at code amendment setback ratios because of safety concerns. But some residents want the scope of the study expanded.

When county planners wouldn't broaden the scope discussion at last week's meeting, about a dozen residents walked out, claiming their speech was being limited.

One option is creating a group of about 10 to 15 members representing concerned residents, wireless companies, school and government officials. The group would be led by a consultant at a cost of about $50,000.

But commissioners will have to decide on the scope of the study. Residents want the county to consider cell towers' impact on property values, antenna co-location and shelter locations when considering setback ratios. The county currently requires a tower to be set back from residential areas 1 foot for every 3 feet of tower height.

The commission is scheduled to take up the issue at 10 a.m. today. Public comment is scheduled at 9:10 a.m.
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Source: Tampa Bay online, MICHELE SAGER, 18 Aug 2010

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