Nevada County supervisors approve cell tower on Burning Bush Road |

Nevada County supervisors approve cell tower on Burning Bush Road

A cell phone tower slated for Burning Bush Road passed a bureaucratic hurdle Tuesday, as supporters and opponents of the project spent hours trying to convince Nevada County supervisors of their viewpoints.

The Board of Supervisors after over three hours of discussion and public comment voted 3-to-1 to turn down an appeal and allow the cell tower at 19406 Burning Bush Road, about five miles north of Nevada City.

Supervisor Richard Anderson opposed the tower. Supervisor Heidi Hall was absent.

Chris Hatch, western program manager with Shore 2 Shore Wireless, Inc., said no timeline yet exists for the construction of the 130-foot tower, which supporters have said will provide broadband access and better cell phone coverage.

Johanna Finney, one of several people who appealed the county zoning administrator’s November decision to allow the tower, said an appeal to Nevada County Superior Court is an option.

“I do have to look into that,” Finney said.

Finney said AT&T, which wants to install the cell tower, made misstatements in its application. She argued county officials failed to make the telecommunications company address issues including line-of-sight and coverage area.

Many joined Finney in her opposition to the cell tower during public comment, including David Adams, who said he’s watched with horror as the project developed. He said it takes only one property owner entering into a private deal to affect an entire neighborhood.

“This is something that could happen to any one of us at any time,” he said.

Adams urged supervisors to protect residents by increasing the time of public notification of such projects and create clear zoning limitations.

Louise Jones said the tower will become a part of her vista. She questioned why AT&T opted against another, nearby site that’s higher in elevation and has electricity.

Cynthia Pierce, one of the residents who appealed the project to supervisors, said she bought her property in 1990 because of its tree cover and beauty.

“My first issue is this is a taking of my property,” Pierce said.

A handful of people favor the project, including Pamela Swartz, who owns the property slated for the tower.

Swartz said she’s spotted two fires from her home over the years, leading her to call authorities. She emphasized the need for a stable communications network.

“It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when we’ll have a fire in our community,” Swartz said.

David Hanson, who serves on the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District Board, echoed the need for a communications tower.

“We support the growth and installation of cell phone towers throughout the county,” Hanson said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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