By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield and Wood County officials are considering the possibility of allowing the construction of a cell tower on the UW Marshfield/Wood County campus.
The Wood County Board and the Marshfield Common Council had a proposed lease agreement on their Dec. 19 agendas, but neither body took action.
Marshfield Administrator Steve Barg told the city council that the two bodies still have several issues to work out regarding a lease agreement with Verizon, which has already reached an agreement with the commission that governs the campus, over building the tower on the north end of the parking lot along West Fifth Street.
“Their intent is to locate Verizon on this tower; however, under city ordinance and by their own design they actually want to have other carriers have the opportunity to join and get on that tower,” he said. “Co-locating on these communication towers is a big part of what we want to see from a zoning and planning perspective.”
Barg said staff and students on the campus, along with nearby residents, have reported the need for improved cell phone service in that area.
City Planner Josh Miller told the council the tower’s location would have to meet FAA regulations, because of its proximity to the approach from the north for the Marshfield Municipal Airport.
“Because we have an airport within three miles of this site, we do have an airport overlay zoning requirement,” Miller said, “so, it’s basically just limited to the height.
“In this case, I think they had about 110 or 115 feet to work with to still remain under that height. The reason it is so little is because that is an approach into the main runway there. So as you get closer to the runway, it actually gets lower, so that was part of the reason for their location proposal.
“The proposal location is further east, as far north as they could go, because that gives them a little more height.”
The proposal calls for a 30-year lease agreement with Verizon, which would make annual payments of just over $14,000 initially to the UW Commission. That money would be used for campus improvements and it would reduce the amount the campus would be asking for from both Marshfield and Wood County budgets each year.
Both the city council and county board will consider a final version of the lease agreement at their January meetings.