Longboat Key resident and Alpha-Omega Communications LLC Managing Director Jim Eatrides is interested in placing a cell-phone tower on the property of Longboat Island Chapel.
While speaking in favor of revising the town’s telecommunications ordinance at the Longboat Key Town Commission’s Monday, May 4 regular meeting, Eatrides said he flew a balloon on the church’s steeple Friday, April 10 to simulate the visual impact that a tower would have on Longboat Key.
Eatrides, a communications engineer whose company develops tower sites, and J. Kevin Barile, president of Ridan Industries LLC, a company that owns and operates cell-phone towers, met with the church’s congregation Sunday, April 19 to discuss the possibility of placing a tower on the chapel’s property.
The town’s current cell-phone ordinance has hindered cell-phone companies from placing towers on certain Longboat Key properties. According to the current ordinance, a cell-phone tower can only be placed on government or church property. The chapel and the Longboat Key Public Works facility are the only north-Key properties with that type of zoning, but both have been ruled to be insufficient parcels in the past.
Eatrides expressed disappointment at the meeting after the commission decided to workshop the ordinance again at a later date and explained that cell phones are especially important to tourists, seasonal residents and for emergency personnel.
Until the ordinance is revised, any potential plans for the property as a cell-tower site will be delayed. In the meantime, Eatrides said the chapel congregation is open to discussions in the future.
“Longboat Key is a pretty place, but it’s not a good place to live and work in the modern information age,” Eatrides said.
Contact Robin Hartill at email@example.com.
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