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Palmetto City Commission approves land lease for 152' cell phone tower


This project has been pending for 35 months, says Verizon Wireless land acquisition subcontractor Mike Nuckols. Now that the Palmetto City Commission has voted 3 - 2 to lease Verizon the land for it, in city-owned Hidden Lake Park, it can finally move forward.

Verizon must still obtain appropriate permits and have the final tower design approved. Nuckols's suggestion is to stick to a plain stick that looks like a 152' tall flagpole (and can, indeed, be used to fly flags), rather than choose an artifical pine tree or other disguise.   

There were several questions from the commission about whether Verizon is going to update the equipment during the 25 year lease, especially if new, safer transmitters come out. Verizon reps assured commissioners that yes, they regularly upgrade equipment everywhere, and will upgrade the Palmetto tower on the same schedule as other towers in Florida.

The only other question was about lawsuits; if someone sues Verizon, will the city need to have a separate defense? Answer: likely. But then, Verizon will own the tower and equipment, so they're the ones who will bear the brunt of any legal action.

No members of the public spoke either in favor of or against the cellular tower at this meeting.

Although Verizon has reduced its offer slightly from when tower negotiations started nearly three years ago, potential income for the city is between $500,000 and over $1 million during the 25 year lease, depending how many other cell phone companies end up sharing the tower with Verizon.

"You have made a good deal here," Nuckols assured the commissioners after they voted in favor of the tower lease.



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