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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 10/09/13
Bruce, Solvaris officials
proceeding with appeal
by CHRIS GRAYOfficials in Bruce Township are preparing to head to court to dispute whether or not an Internet tower should be allowed at 200 feet.
Observer Staff Writer
The Board of Trustees is expected to ask its attorney to represent its interests during the Oct. 16 board meeting in regards to an appeal of a Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) decision.
In August, the ZBA voted to deny a variance to Bruce Township-based Solvaris, Inc. to install a 200-foot wireless Internet tower on township property located south of 36 Mile Road and east of Hipp Road. The ZBA said the denial preserves the rural atmosphere of the township and doesn't prevent Lauer from constructing a tower.
In response, Matt Lauer, owner of Solvaris, filed an appeal on Sept. 11 with Macomb County to see if he can gain the variance through the circuit court. He said the filing was delayed due to a backlog at the county level.
Bruce Township Clerk Susan Brockmann said the township has 28 days to provide the courts with records of anything pertaining to the tower, and expects the files to be sent in this week.
"At that point we authorize the township attorney to act on our behalf," she said.
The township's ordinance has a limit of 175 feet on tower heights. Lauer said he is encouraged in filing the appeal due to Ray Township having a similar ordinance but working with Verizon to install a 200-foot tower.
"There are other nearby real estate were they need additional height," he said.
The Board of Trustees has formally asked the Planning Commission to re-examine the tower ordinance, though board members like Trustee Paul Okoniewski cautioned against changing the ordinance due to pressure from the appeal.
The Planning Commission's next meeting is Oct. 23, which Brockmann said would likely be before the first court date. Brockmann said if the ordinance is amended it could play a role in the appeal process.
"If the Planning Commission really holds to the ordinance and feels like it should remain the way it is, that could influence the board and/or judge and vice-versa," she said.
Prior to the board asking for a review, the commission decided on Aug. 28 that the ordinance should remain with the 175-foot limit.
Lauer said if he cannot obtain the 200-foot variance he would likely have to install a second tower in the northwestern portion of the township to achieve the desired coverage.
"We prefer not to install additional towers because they're expensive and time-consuming," he said. "We're hoping to get the height issue rectified."
Lauer is currently moving forward with a 175-foot tower, constructing the tower itself while waiting for the foundation to be installed. Lauer said the tower height can be increased if he receives the variance.
On Aug. 21, the Board of Trustees approved of granting a Special Land Use request for Solvaris to install the high-speed Internet tower on township property.