A request for a 195-foot tower at the Plantation Palms Golf Course recently sparked a discussion over how to best protect the interest of area residents.
On one hand, the lease for the cell tower would provide revenue, which could help for the upkeep of the golf course — which under previous ownership had fallen into a state of disrepair, threatening property values throughout the Land O’ Lakes golf course community.
On the other hand, a couple living near the proposed towering pole aren’t exactly enamored by the idea of having that become part of their view-shed on a daily basis. They also worry their property values could suffer because of their proximity to the cell tower.
There’s also the argument that the entire community would benefit from improved service for their electronic devices.
Those were some of the issues discussed by the Pasco County Planning Commission on April 6, during a public hearing on a requested conditional use permit for the proposed tower.
Mattaniah S. Jahn represented the applicants — Ace Cheval, Inc/VB BTS, LLC/T-Mobile South, LLC – 195 — who are seeking permission for a 185-foot monopole along with a 10-foot lightning rod.
The proposed tower would go on a site on the north side of 20 mile Level Road, about 1,550 feet east of Collier Parkway. The subject site consists of a maintenance facility and is designated as a recreation center, on the Plantation Palms master-plan, according to materials in the planning board’s agenda packet.
The pole would be erected within a 3,819-square-foot fenced compound area, on a parcel of approximately 1.89 acres, agenda materials say.
The proposed anchor tenant, T- Mobile, currently has antenna equipment on a flagpole-style cell tower, which is about 1,150 feet southwest of the proposed request, at the Land O’Lakes Recreation Complex, at 3032 Collier Parkway, in Land O’ Lakes.
T-Mobile proposes to terminate its tenancy on that pole because it is unable to physically support the antennas and equipment necessary to meet the area’s traffic needs, agenda materials say.
Verizon Communications, Inc. is the anchor tenant at that site.
After hearing neighbors’ concerns, planning board member Jaime Girardi asked about the possibility of moving the tower farther away, onto the county’s parkland at the rec center.
Jahn said that since there’s already a cell tower on that site, it may be impossible to locate another one there.
Cell tower leases typically contain non-compete clauses, Jahn explained.
Chief Assistant County Attorney David Goldstein said he would need to review the lease to determine if it contains a non-compete clause.
That would be a moot point, though, Goldstein said, if the planning board is interested in helping Plantation Palms preserve its ability to generate money from the cell tower lease — to support its golf course operations.
Girardi said he wanted to know the options before taking a vote.
Planning board member Peter Hanzel said he was ready to support the conditional use request because the golf course needs the revenue and cell phone towers are a necessity to support today’s technology needs.
Planning board member Chris Poole said if it’s possible to get it, he’d like more information about the impacts that cell towers have on property values.
The board voted to continue the issue until its May 4 meeting in Dade City, to allow additional information to be gathered before it takes a vote.
Published April 19, 2023