KOSCIUSKO — The Kosciusko County Area Plan Commission denied a rezoning request Wednesday, Dec. 4, that would open the door to allow the placement of a communications tower.
The request, made by Nick Deeter, involved rezoning a 10.76 tract of ground on Prairie Street, south of CR 400N, Warsaw, from a Residential District to an Agricultural District.
Attorney Steve Snyder, representing the petitioner, explained that the land has historically been used for agricultural purposes and that the size of the land would not be good residential use from an economic standpoint when you consider setback requirements.
Chairman Lee Harman asked Snyder for the further motivation behind the request. If the land was already being used agriculturally, then why did it need to be rezoned.
At this point, Snyder brought up the motivation behind the request. The landowner, Deeter, had been approached by AT&T to place a communications tower on the property, which is prohibited in a residential zone. Since a Verizon communications tower is within a 2-mile radius of the proposed tower location, the property would also need an exception from the Kosciusko Board of Zoning Appeals if the rezoning was approved.
Area Plan Director Dan Richard brought up a concern regarding the close proximity to the Warsaw Municipal Airport. The property sits in the airport approach zone which could impact allowing a communications tower at all.
Snyder assured the board that all Federal Aviation Administration regulations would be met.
“This is a dead spot for AT&T. They’ve been through all of the research and other tracts in the area and this is the only one that provides the coverage that they need to fill in that space. As 5G comes in, that’s going to be even more important.”
Snyder also mentioned that if the communications tower was placed on the property, the rest of the land would be used as a hayfield for Magical Meadows.
Neighbor Harold Hawkins was present at the meeting to oppose the request.
“I’ve got no problem with rezoning it for a hayfield for Magical Meadows. I do have a problem if they’re going to put a 4-5G AT&T tower on that,” said Hawkins. “I don’t think we want that type of electrical power. We don’t want to wear tinfoil hats to protect us from an AT&T tower … I care about my property values and the safety and health of my family.”
Boardmember Kevin McSherry made a motion to deny the request, which was voted on unanimously.
The recommendation will now go before the Kosciusko County Commissioners during their meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 23.
In other news:
- The board approved a final plat for an Agricultural II subdivision on an eight-acre tract of land. The land is located on the north side of CR 1350N, west of CR 950W.
- Assistant Planning Director Matt Sandy approached the board about possibly looking into requiring commercial agricultural operations to go through some sort of drainage review. The board agreed that this should be further looked into, especially to find out how other counties are handling these operations.
- The next APC meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. This is the second Wednesday instead of the first Wednesday to accommodate the New Year holiday.