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Vol. 15 No. 8 - December 17, 2014

letters to the editor

Too little, too late?

This is the excuse Anna Maria city commissioners used to approve the conditional use permit for the proposed cell tower in Anna Maria. Note the word proposed - this means that there is still time to really look at what the city is about to allow in the center of the jewel, which is Anna Maria. No care or consideration was given to the actual negative aspects of the proposal.

The 162-foot high cell tower, with its associated 33 feet x 90 feet metal platform, which is 25 feet high, is to be positioned at the South East corner of the City Hall Park, right on Spring Avenue.

It may appear that I am the lone voice at the city meetings, trying to make the commission aware of how the typical citizen is going to perceive this juggernaut landing in the center of our village, but many people in close proximity to city hall and their very expensive real estate are going to be impacted for many years to come.

If, as the commission claims, we have been talking about the cell tower in Anna Maria for 10 years, what is another six months delay, if, by using this time to relocate the tower and equipment platform means that some of the negative impacts of the installation can be minimized?

Moving the tower platform location to the very center of the City Park will go a long way to shielding it behind the trees from surrounding streets and make it less intrusive to the owners and all our visitors who come here year after year, especially for our small village ambience. Alternatively, the tower could be placed on the newly purchased six lot site located by the city pier, as it is mostly commercial uses in that area and will minimally impact residential housing.

One voice should be enough to make the commissioners pause in this case, as the ramifications of their action will be with us for a very long time. There are other silent home owners who have made their thoughts known to the city in writing over the last several months, but they have been ignored. It is not the case of having waited until the last minute to speak up. We have all been considered collateral damage for the greater good the city is doing, as one commissioner opined in her thoughts.

The commission appears to be dazzled by the initial reported $350,000 payment from the cell tower company and salivating over the probable income to the city from the lease payments, in spite of and without regard to the visual pollution necessary to accomplish this. It is odd that they will take money from this developer and accept a massive eyesore, but are vehemently opposed to other developers building large residential dwellings in the city.

In the next few years, the commissioners will move on, cell phone service technology will probably improve and change the need for actual cell towers, but our megalithic contraption will be with us forever.

I am appealing to the residents of Anna Maria: please go and look at the similar cell tower platform being built in Bradenton Beach, then make your views known to the commission in the hope they will come to their collective senses and revisit this issue.

Geoffrey Sugden
Anna Maria



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