Berkeley Lake postpones cell tower ordinance vote

BERKELEY LAKE - City Council members voted Thursday to postpone the second reading of a proposed ordinance that would regulate cell towers within the city limits.

The ordinance as written would tightly regulate the appearance, height and permitted locations of cell towers should one be constructed in Berkeley Lake. The council postponed the second read in order to give the city's Planning and Zoning Board time to provide their feedback on the matter.

Councilwoman Debbie Guthrie made a motion during the meeting to not pursue City Hall as a possible location for a cell tower. Guthrie said her motion was based on e-mails exchanged between council members as well as considerable community input. Guthrie's motion was approved unanimously.

Councilman Walter Anderson was quick to point out that there are currently no actual proposals on the table for construction of a cell tower in Berkeley Lake.

Bill Hunkapiller, a resident of the small community, asked council members to prohibit construction of a cell tower on City Hall property. Hunkapiller and his family live very close to City Hall, and he expressed both health concerns and aesthetic concerns on the issue.

"I know there's been a lot of concern from citizens, and I understand that," said Guthrie. "But we can't prove any (of those concerns). I think it would be helpful to have a cell tower in the city."

Some residents have suggested that a cell tower be built in the city's greenspace area. According to councilwoman Rebecca Spitler, a mandatory conservation easement prohibits such a plan.

Anderson urged residents to read the proposed ordinance, which is on the city's Web site. According to Anderson, City Hall is already "pretty much excluded" as a possible location.

Consideration of the cell tower ordinance will be on the June 18 council meeting agenda.