- Local man gets the OK to build a taller tower
MUSCATINE, Iowa — A 50-foot tower that will help a Muscatine ham radio enthusiast connect with even more people around the world won approval from city planners Tuesday.
The Muscatine Zoning Board of Adjustment approved by a 3-1 count Bob Weatherman’s request to erect a 50-foot radio tower at his residence, 408 Chestnut St.
Board member Jim Edgmond cast the dissenting vote, saying he didn’t believe the tower “goes well” in a residential area. Larry Wolf was absent. Chairman Allen Harvey joined fellow board members Jane Reischauer and Rochelle Conway in support of Weatherman’s proposal.
In approving Weatherman’s request, the board included the stipulation that he construct a fence around the tower to prevent people from climbing it. Weatherman said he would honor the requirement. “I hadn’t given that a thought,” he said, “but I will build a fence around it.”
Weatherman’s proposed tower is 15 feet higher than allowed in the city’s R-5 residential district.
Weatherman told the board that a 50-foot tower will allow him to operate his ham radio without interference from obstacles, including a neighbor’s tree. He said he didn’t know about the city’s tower height requirement when he began purchasing the tower, antenna and a rotor to turn the antenna.
The tower will be anchored in four feet of concrete, and by connecting the tower to his house with a wall mount, the tower can withstand winds up to 90 miles per hour, Weatherman told the board.
“It’s something I don’t want to fall down,” he said. “I want it to provide me years of service. I chose Rohn because it has a longstanding history of being a solid structure.”
Other than the 15 feet visible above his roofline, the tower shouldn't be readily visible to passers-by, he said, as it will be installed on the side of his house.
Muscatine City Planner Andrew Fangman said that property owners within 200 feet of proposed tower were contacted. None objected to the plan, although people who rent a home in the neighborhood were not contacted.
Fangman said his only concern with the proposal is that planning ordinances don’t address a fall zone — the safety clearance required in case the tower came down. “We don’t have an ordinance like that, and it might be a consideration” in the future, Fangman said.
A good sign
The board voted 4-0 to allow Landmark Irrigation, which plans to open a business at 5112 U.S. Highway 61 (the former Green Thumbers), to erect a 6-by-9 foot sign up to 35 feet tall in front of its planned location. Minimal signage is allowed in the city’s agricultural district.
The board had already approved the company’s request to use the property within the agricultural district for a business, but the signage had not been determined at the time.
The board took no action on a request by MTMM LLC to allow residential use downstairs for properties at 421 and 425 Mulberry Avenue. The city’s zoning ordinance does not allow for first-floor residential use in its C-1, Neighborhood and General Commercial Zoning District.
Board members said they took no action because the developer did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.