Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neighbors Upset with Antenna Sprint Erects Taller Telephone Tower

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neighbors Upset with Antenna Sprint Erects Taller Telephone Tower

Article excerpt

A new digital telephone antenna is behind Jeffrey Smith's house

on Catrakee Drive in Mandarin, but he says the city had no right

to allow it to be built.

The city's Building and Zoning Division allowed Sprint PCS to

replace an existing power pole with a new and much taller pole

on June 6, then erect its antenna atop it. Now Smith says the

whole structure sits too high in the sky in plain view of his

neighborhood.

The city said the new pole and antenna are allowable under city

law, as do Sprint officials. But Smith says the new construction

violates Jacksonville's 2-year-old tower ordinance, which he

said should have only allowed that antenna atop the existing

power pole, not a new one.

"They have stuck up a big new pole to support the antenna, then

reattached the existing power cables to the new poles. Then they

look you straight in the face and say the principal use of this

pole is for power and the antenna is just an ancillary use. It

is pretty strange," said Smith, an attorney. "They seem to be

saying that you can add to the existing structure. I think that

is just baloney."

Sprint PCS is planning to start digital telephone service in

the Jacksonville and Gainesville areas later this summer. The

Mandarin antenna was built atop a new power pole on a

Jacksonville Electric Authority right of way behind the Autumn

Glen Estates community, just south of Loretto Road. City

Building and Zoning Division records show the Jacksonville

Electric Authority authorized the replacement pole in a May 6

memo, then the city granted the building permit.

Sprint spokesman Dan Wilinsky said they needed to build a

taller power pole because the existing pole was too short. He

said the taller pole was needed to ensure the best reception for

their customers, and believes everything was done legally.

"We believe this tower meets height requirements and we have

been working with the city to make sure this meets height

standards," he said. "We have also had discussions with the

folks concerned about the tower and we welcome the opportunity

to meet with concerned residents. …

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