West Glacier cell tower approved by county board

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A 108-foot cellular communications tower will be allowed near West Glacier within view from U.S. 2, the Flathead County Board of Adjustment decided last week.

Despite opposition from more than a dozen citizens, the board voted 3-2 to allow Clearview Tower II LLC of Edison, New Jersey, to erect the tower on a 20-acre parcel at 1291 Belton Stage Road owned by Don and Paul B. Herbert of Oldtown, Idaho.

Voting in favor of the tower were board members Ole Netteberg, Cal Dyck and Gina Klempel. Those opposed included Mark Hash and Roger Noble.

A similar proposal from the Herberts was rejected a year ago by the Board of Adjustment amid neighborhood opposition. That application called for a 150-foot tower.

Consultant Eric Mulcahy, representing Clearview Tower, told the board that emergency service providers are interested in cellular communications capacity. That was supported by testimony from Tyler Ament, whose family works with the Coram-West Glacier Fire Department. He presented a letter of support for the tower from several Canyon-area emergency services officials, according to county Planning Office documents.

Several neighbors of the cell tower site said they are concerned about the tower cluttering the skyline near Glacier National Park. Some opponents pointed to a regulation in the Canyon Area Land Use Regulatory System that states “no commercial or industrial development shall extend above the ridgeline of any hill, mountain or elevated topography so as to intersect with the skyline as viewed from U.S. 2.”

Board member Mark Hash, who voted against the tower, commented during board discussion that he believed the immediate neighborhood impacts weren’t reviewed adequately, according to planning documents.

Board of Adjustment decisions are considered final.

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