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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Flying with community

Matthew Wiebe

I attended a zoning commission meeting. I must admit that I had never attended one before. I honestly never paid close enough attention to the zoning laws, exceptions, or going ons to be interested. Yes, I know. BIG MISTAKE.

I need to be educated so I can be an active participant in my life in my town. I need to know who are the people who make the decisions about what is allowed to be built in and around where I live.

I got educated last night. My friend Barbara invited me to the meeting because she needed support. She was challenging the building of a 105 foot cell phone tower in her subdivision and practically in her backyard. She had a petition of over 90 people challenging the tower. Several of those people showed up at the meeting.

Interestingly there was also an armed policeman standing at the door. I guess to make sure no one got out of line and one woman almost got ejected because she kept speaking AFTER the public comment portion was over.

Anyway, the people who petitioned for the tower were slickly dressed. They were a bit arrogant, at times condescending to the woman on the committee who spoke out asking very pointed questions in an attempt to clarify the need.

It was truly a battle of perception.  The petitioners said that the tower was needed to fill the 'dead space' of cell reception. The people in the community said they get great service. And they suspect that the tower is to support another part of town.

In the end the community members won. They realize that the cell tower people will amend their petition and will probably be back. But right now they can savor the sweet victory that comes when like minded citizens in the community band together.

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