Hillsborough BOCC forms cell tower task force

10/06/10 Kate Bradshaw
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Some might see more cell phone towers in the local landscape as a sign of better coverage, but many are concerned with their effects. Today the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved the formation of a group to investigate whether to regulate where they can go. Interim County Administrator Mike Merrill says he knows consensus won’t come easily.

Merrill says the committee will have representation from a wide range of vantage points on the cell tower issue.

Commissioner Al Higginbotham says he’s concerned about representation for residents of unincorporated areas.

But Merrill says there are at least three residents from unincorporated Hillsborough on the committee.

Higginbotham says he’s also concerned that there’s no one on the list that can directly address the health issues many believe result from proximity to cell towers.

Cynthia Shellabarger is an activist with Responsible Tower Placement Tampa. She says the fact that the committee won’t include someone who can talk specifically on the health aspect doesn’t take away from the group’s mission.

Shellabarger says she hopes to see an 1,800 foot setback. Many believe the towers cause cancer for those who live, work, or go to school nearby. Shellabarger says health isn’t the only concern cell phone tower activists have.

After it studies all aspects of the issue, the committee will make recommendations to the county administrator. Ultimately, the county commissioner may then vote on changes to land development code as it relates to the structures.

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