Archive for Wednesday, June 13, 2007

T-Mobile antenna back on track

June 13, 2007

It was touch and go for a while, but T-Mobile customers waiting to get better service in the Tonganoxie may not have to wait much longer before reception is improved.

Last month, Tonganoxie City Council and representatives from Selective Site Consultants and T-Mobile discussed the cellular phone antenna destined for the new water tower near the grounds of Tonganoxie Middle School.

They thought approval of a special-use permit and completion of the leasing agreement was all that was necessary for the antenna to go up, but an error in the special use permit application put the plan on hold until Monday's council meeting.

"Somewhere along the line this got fouled up. I'm not sure where," Mike Kelly, city attorney, said at the May meeting.

According to city code, the property owner or an agent acting on behalf of the owner needs to apply for the special use permit.

On the submitted application, Selective Site Consultants was acting as an agent for T-Mobile and not for the city, which is the property owner.

There was a hand-written note on the permit application written by City Clerk Kathy Bard, stating that Tonganoxie was the owner of the property.

Monday night the city followed the advice of Kevin Kokes, the city planner, and retroactively applied for the special use permit allowing T-Mobile the ability to place the antenna. The move spares T-Mobile separate waiting periods of 21 and 14 days.

"It appears that you can probably go ahead and move forward, it's just not a recommended procedure to follow in this situation," Kelly said.

At Monday's meeting the council also approved leasing the tower to T-Mobile for five years, with an automatic renewal of the lease after the first five years. After the automatic renewal, any five-year renewal of the lease would need to be approved by both the city and T-Mobile.

T-Mobile will pay the city $1,250 a month in rent with a 115 percent increase at each lease renewal. It also agreed to pay the city $3,100 for half of the cost of asphalt for the road leading to the tower.

In addition to the antenna providing provide extra coverage for T-Mobile customers, T-Mobile's agreement with the city calls for it also to install $6,000 worth of radio equipment the council approved during its May 14 meeting. The new 90-watt repeaters were purchased as a backup system for the Tonganoxie Police Department. The repeaters would have cost the city $1,000 to install.

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