City Attorney Winston Demark has released his legal opinion on the cell tower complaints issued by residents near its 3610 Evans Mill Road location. Denmark reviewed the application, the minutes from the original zoning hearing, the Stonecrest files, and the permit that was recently issued for the construction of the cell tower.
The tower’s conditional zoning, highlighted by many residents, is not problematic at all, according to Denmark. Denmark said the zoning decision rendered more than 40 years ago, did not disclose the actual conditions that were approved. It only says the conditions as stated by the applicant.
“We don’t know if that means conditions printed on the application or the conditions mentioned during the zoning proceedings. We can’t speculate. Nothing in the zoning records states that the conditions in the application are the exact conditions that the county imposed,” Denmark said. “If the original minutes had said that we can approve this zoning based on the conditions stated in the application, then that would be fine; however, it didn’t say that. It said based on the conditions as stated by the applicant. He could have said something verbally or submitted another document that we don’t have,” Denmark explained. Denmark has assured the mayor, city staff, and residents that he has left no stone unturned and, after a thorough review, has concluded that the cell tower construction was legal, and that the city staff acted lawfully.
Mayor Jason Lary said that he was willing to fight the cell tower within legal grounds. Lary said that he was going to ask for a stop-work order during a March 25 council meeting. However, after consulting Denmark and staff, he said he found this to be impossible.
“I asked for the stop work order to be issued the very next day after our council meeting, as I committed, and found out that the order couldn’t be issued. My understanding is that the applicant had already completed the required work under the current permit. There was nothing else I could do,” Lary said in a statement.