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Longboat Key Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010 7 years ago

Cell tower proponents prepare application

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

The application process is under way for a proposed 150-foot cellular tower to be placed on Longboat Island Chapel property.

Church officials signed a lease agreement July 26, for a five-year lease with Jimmy Eatrides, owner of Longboat Key-based Alpha-Omega Communications, and Kevin Barile, president of Tampa-based Ridan Industries II.

Currently, Barile and Eatrides are working with town staff to assemble an application.

“It’s quite a task to assemble a tower application,” said Barile, who hopes to have a completed application for the town’s review by October. “We are moving full-speed ahead.”

Once the town deems the application complete, the tower application can be placed on a regular meeting of the town’s Planning and Zoning Board.

Barile and Eatrides hope to have the application reviewed by the planning board at its 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16 regular meeting.

The application would then be forwarded to the Town Commission for a first and second reading.

In the meantime, Barile and Eatrides are forming a community outreach program to gain community input on the idea.

“The more time we spend with the community on this matter, the better,” Eatrides said.

As part of the outreach program, the two are planning on holding a community meeting in the next four to six weeks at the chapel.

“We will also send out a mailer to north-end island residents and will be urging those who are not happy with their cellular reception to attend the upcoming public hearings,” Barile said. “We will use an outreach program to inform people why a tower is needed and why they need to support it.”

The unipole stealth tower, if approved by the commission next year, will sit just south of the chapel’s Lord’s Warehouse building on the east side of the church’s 4.5-acre property at 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

The tower, Eatrides said, allows for six cellular carriers to carry their service on the structure.

Barile said the lease agreement now allows him to get formal commitments from carriers who have already expressed an interest in the tower. Those carriers will also be signing letters of intent that will be provided to town staff as part of the application. Eatrides and Barile said the lease agreement and pending application is a culmination of more than three years of discussions with the chapel’s board of directors and the congregation.

The base of the tower would be 5.5 feet in diameter and would include an elevated platform supporting all of the carrier equipment that would sit 5-to-6 feet off the ground.

The tallest portion of the tower would be 42 inches in diameter.

All of the equipment would be enclosed in a wall system and be shielded with landscaping.

Both Eatrides and Barile say the tower will close service gaps in cellular coverage on the north end.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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