A proposed 150-foot cellular tower for the Longboat Island Chapel property has caused static in the town in recent years.
To voice their opposition, a group of residents near the chapel property made signs that read: “No cell tower” and placed them on their properties.
But, recently, someone spray-painted the word “yes” over an anti-tower sign.
According to a Longboat Key police report, Ronald Platt reported that sometime between 7 p.m. Friday, Oct.
12, and 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, an unknown person vandalized the sign at his property in the 6200 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive.
Platt’s sign is nailed to his gate. He told police the sign was valued at $60, the report states.
Platt also reported that his neighbor’s sign and a sign from a vacant property across the street were missing.
Police canvassed the area and found both missing signs, which appeared to have been removed from their stands and left concealed in shrubs. Officers replaced the signs that had been taken from their locations.
The Longboat Observer was unable to reach Platt for comment.
Platt’s neighbor, Gus Sclafani, whose sign was removed, reviewed his video surveillance from his home and was able to see the suspect on camera. The suspect wasn’t someone he knew, although he said he might be able to identify the man if he saw him.
“The upsetting thing is that they come on personal property and do something like that,” Sclafani said.
Former Mayor Jeremy Whatmough said that the sign on his property nearby was not disturbed and expressed surprise that the incident would occur on Longboat Key.
The reported vandalisms occurred two or three days before an Oct. 15 Longboat Key Town Commission workshop that included a discussion of TE Connectivity’s telecommunications study, which took place in the spring, on the agenda.
Currently, there is no active cell-tower application on file with the town, because Ridan Industries II and Alpha Omega Communications strategically put its application on hold late last year to allow the town to make changes to its telecommunications ordinance and amend its Comprehensive Plan.
During the five-hour workshop, however, discussion often turned into yet another debate about the merits and drawbacks of a potential tower.
The article was changed online Oct. 25 to reflect a clarification.