Commission approves subdivision rules revision, cell tower zoning

Adam Rollins, Staff Writer
Posted 9/27/21

The Warren County Commission this month approved significant revisions to the county’s rules for subdivision development and took a step toward allowing construction of a new cell phone tower …

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Commission approves subdivision rules revision, cell tower zoning

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The Warren County Commission this month approved significant revisions to the county’s rules for subdivision development and took a step toward allowing construction of a new cell phone tower in Lake Sherwood.

The county is updating its subdivision rules in anticipation of new interest from developers wanting to build neighborhoods in unincorporated areas. The County Commission voted on Sept. 9 to amend the rules with a number of adjustments to the standards expected of developments, as well as procedural changes that could reduce some administrative hurdles.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Vickie Vohsen said the subdivision code changes are primarily meant to make expectations for developers more clear and concrete. Expectations for roads that will one day become public streets, lot sizes and layouts, and utility provisions for different size subdivisions are all among the adjustments.

Also included are provisions that make it easier to divide up parcels of land as long as each parcel remains larger than 10 acres. Surveyor and engineer Bart Korman, who helped draft the new regulations, previously explained that this change will ease a burden on landowners who own large tracts of land and want to split off pieces for sale to developers.

In an effort to avoid creating new hassles for people who already live in the county, the new subdivision rules also contain some exceptions for when a parent is dedicating part of their land to their adult children.

Cell tower zoning

Commissioners also approved a rezoning request from representatives of the Lake Sherwood Estates Association that lays the groundwork for installation of a 170-foot cell phone tower.

The neighborhood association and a site acquisition company working for AT&T had petitioned the county in June to change the property use zoning at the Lake Sherwood maintenance facility to allow construction of a tower there. The two groups say a tower is needed to provide reliable phone and data service to the 500 homes in the Lake Sherwood community, where reception is poor because of the hilly terrain in the area.

Poor cell service has also been presented as a safety concern for people who need to contact emergency services.

The tower proposal has only received minimal pushback from nearby property owners who are nonplussed by the idea of a metal tower becoming part of their scenic forest landscape.
Warren County’s citizen-led planning and zoning board recommended approval of the tower site rezoning in June, setting it up for a yes vote from the County Commission this month.

However, the project still needs to go through one more administrative hurdle, as AT&T’s representatives still need to apply for and receive a conditional use permit from the planning and zoning board for the actual construction of the tower.

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