This just in from our sometime Fish Wrap Correspondent, Black Molly.  Seems the Little Falls City Council is due to hear a conditional use request tomorrow night (October 13, 2008) at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall for the proposed placement of a 190-foot mono-pole telecommunications tower at 107 13th Street Northwest.  That location appears to be in a block just south of Pine Grove Park and Zoo, basically across the street from the entry side.  Here’s what Black Molly has to say about the issue in her letter to the City Council:

To:  Jake Depuydt, Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem, Little Falls City Council Members, Bruce Kiesling

I’m writing in regards to the proposed placement of a 190-foot mono-pole telecommunications tower at 107 13th Street Northwest in Little Falls.  If I’m not mistaken, this address is located across the street from Pine Grove Park, which means that a tower of this size will certainly be noticed by those visiting the park.  After all of the money that has been spent to make improvements to the park and zoo, why would the City allow a tower to be installed that would mar the aesthetics of one of its visitor attractions?

As you ponder this question, consider a similar situation that has been the subject of some hand-wringing over the years.  Billboards, also known as “Litter on a Stick,” have become a visual distraction for those entering the City of Little Falls, especially on Highway 10 south of town, where they are practically stacked one on top of another.  While the existing billboards fall outside of the City’s jurisdiction, they serve as a cautionary tale about how zoning issues, if not given enough forethought, can get out of hand.  Do we really want mono-pole communications towers cropping up willy-nilly all over the city without any regards to the overall historic aesthetic that the City has been attempting to achieve for decades?

That said, I am not against progress.  In order to remain competitive in a wireless world, it’s obvious that we are going to need tall structures that can accommodate telecommunication services, be they mono-poles or the pre-existing water towers.  Instead of deciding upon such projects one at a time, as they come before the Council, I would like to see the Little Falls City Council examine the issue of mono-pole placement and find a suitable location for said towers – perhaps in the industrially-zoned areas.  Then, the City needs to remain committed to its decision and not grant every conditional use permit or request that comes up, as this effectively nullifies the ordinance or zoning restriction that has been passed.  The exception should not become the rule.

For these reasons, I’m urging you to deny the conditional use request for the placement of a mono-pole tower at 107 13th Street Northwest.

If you feel strongly about this issue, one way or the other, be sure to attend the Little Falls City Council meeting tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.

The legals are a fine place to swim,

Phineas F. A. Pickerel

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