Public voices opinions on proposed cell tower in Addison Twp.

Around 30 concerned parents and local residents packed an Aug. 8 Addison Township Planning Commission public hearing to voice their thoughts on a proposed cell tower at the northeast corner of Hosner and Oakwood roads, near Kingsbury Country Day School.

Planning commissioners conducted the public hearing on a special use permit, which would be required to bring the project to fruition.

If approved, the proposed 195-foot monopole would be located on a 5.24 acre, township-owned site.

Jonathan Crane, a civil engineer and attorney representing Verizon, opened the public hearing with a statement.

“We’ve seen some of the concerns in the letters that came in . . . concerns about ice falling from the towers. Ice falling is an issue with guide towers and lattice towers, not monopoles. It’s safe. I have no reservations as a professional engineer about putting (the tower) in this location,” Crane said.

“We have located cell towers on every land use possible. On school properties, college campuses, single-family residences. This site was selected because it has to fit (Verizon’s) grid. Putting the (tower) there not only generates revenue for the township, it provides essential public communication services.”

During the hearing, many parents expressed concerns about the potential impact on Kingsbury enrollment rates, health and the environment.

George Butler, an attorney from Dickinson Wright representing Kingsbury Country Day School, told the board he did not feel Verizon officials had made a sufficient effort in seeking alternate locations for the tower.

“Prove to me this is the only location where you can rationally place this and that it’s an absolute necessity that it be placed there,” Butler said. “In this commercial context, no such argument could be made. There isn’t any evidence (in) the record that they’ve shown that they’ve tried and failed to have an opportunity to place this cell tower. This looks to the public, and I’m not necessarily alleging this, but this looks to the public (like), ‘Hey here’s some land Addison Township can’t get any use out of. It doesn’t meet the requirements, but if Addison’s the one approving and blessing its own bearings, (the township will) make $20,000 a year from this cell tower.’”

William Carroll, who lives on E. Leonard Rd., said he felt the proposed tower does not fit the “aesthetic appeal” of the township and he’s worried Kingsbury’s enrollment numbers may suffer if a tower is built.

“When it comes to protecting our children, please err on the side of caution when considering their health and welfare,” he said. “We ask that the money for the township does not cloud the wants and the needs of the community . . . Please consider the stigma (associated with cell towers.) Many people do believe (cell towers negatively affect people’s health). Whether the planning board considers this isn’t really the whole question. It’s also whether enough other people (share that perception).”

Several residents said they hoped the commission would deny the special use permit for the tower, “following precedence” set by the Village of Leonard’s planning commission in 2008, when it denied the approval of a special use permit for a proposed cell tower next to Leonard Elementary School.

It should be noted that Leonard’s planning commission is a completely separate body that’s part of the village government and not part of Addison Township government.

Oxford resident Bruce Meyers, who lives on the corner of Oakwood and Delano roads, spoke in favor of the tower, stating that he has come to learn through research that radiofrequency (RF) signals emitted by cell towers overshoot the immediate area and that other devices, such as cell phones, alarm clocks and electric blankets all emit larger levels of RF waves at the ground level than cell towers do.

He also said that he knew of the township’s need for improved cell service from personal experience.

“We need a tower out there someplace,” Meyers said. “(I) had a severe injury a few years ago (and) I couldn’t get a call out because we couldn’t get a signal. Just the other week . . . I had a devil of a time getting a call out . . . If the tower goes in right there, I’d be about a mile away. I’d get a signal on a regular basis.”

Kallie Roesner-Meyers, who serves on the Oxford Township Planning Commission, agreed with Meyers, who is her husband. Roesner-Meyers used the cell tower that’s going to be built in Seymour Lake Twp. Park, as an example of a largely-opposed cell tower project which now going to benefit the community. That tower was approved by Oxford Township’s planning commission in 2016 despite having a setback variance that did not meet the township’s zoning ordinance.

“I know there’s a lot of fear here. I also know there’s a need,” Roener-Meyers said. “One of the factors (the planning commission should consider) is (whether there’s a) need and it’s well-documented there’s a need. So, if you’re not going to put it there, please expedite putting (a cell tower) somewhere else because this area really does need it.”

Candace Lagest, a former Kingsbury Country Day School teacher, told members of the planning commission that she hopes they will support the Addison Township community and the school by denying the special use permit.

“You should be proud of this school in your community (and) you should be supporting it. Not hurting it,” Lagest said. “People are very upset about these decisions you guys have the power to make . . . The school’s natural beauty is what draws people in from all over the place. Tech is not a priority for that school. It is not a priority for their parents. It is not a priority for the staff. (The priority is) environmental studies. You are going to be disturbing that.”

Tiffaney Stoehr, the parent of a child at Kingsbury, told the board she will remove her child from the charter school if the proposed cell tower is approved.

“You’re going to force these people out (of Kingsbury),” she said. “New people will come. They’re not going to buy property so (the township will) have nothing left. It’s not a win-win. It’s a win to put money into the pocket of the township, but not for the future. Have you thought about what you’ll be making after taxes (if the tower were to be built)? I have great coverage with my phone and others at Kingsbury. This is not a need for us… we will not be involved in this township ever again. I will pull my child out (of Kingsbury).”

Another parent, Ivan Lubinski, told the board he was “shocked” by the Zoning Board of Appeals’ recent approval of a dimensional variance for the tower.

Township zoning ordinance requires the lot size for wireless communications towers to be a minimum of 20 acres, while the proposed tower is located on a lot area of approximately 5.24 acres.

“Why did (the township) pick a cell tower (to generate revenue)? Why didn’t you go right to a prison? There’s a lot more money to be made there . . . Maybe you guys can start a brothel. I don’t understand . . . Why did the ZBA approve this?” he said. “There are already parents who have left (Kingsbury) because of the thought that this is going to happen.”

The planning commission is expected to make a decision at its next meeting, which will be held Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Addison Township Hall (1440 Rochester Rd.) in Lakeville.


8 Responses to "Public voices opinions on proposed cell tower in Addison Twp."

  1. Ron Renaud   August 16, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    You forgot to reference the Addison Twp planning commissions denial of a T-Mobile tower in January 2009 . They denied the monastery a income on the same issues we have raised. Please do your due diligence and add the FACTS to the story.

  2. Gizzard   August 17, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Technology is not a priority? did she really say that? Please, I guarantee the microwave in your house and the 5 happy meals a week are more detrimental to your health. We need a tower out that way reception stinks, it’s a matter of public safety and I’m sure verizon can make it one of those Pine tree looking towers, maybe some Falcons can have a nest up there too.

    • Tiffaney Stoehr   September 3, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      O.K Gizzard, please know the facts behind what us parents are fighting for.

  3. Ron Renaud   August 17, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Gizzard.. Really? Why not give your real name?

    As far as the need, yes the area can use a better signal BUT the tower should be located as the Ordinance was directing to be; on a 20 acre lot minimally. Not force it on a undersized lot, within 150 feet of a Historic kindergarten school and within 70 feet of its playground, or in view of everyone when there are other WILLING property holders with the acreage that would not need to get any variances or special use approvals nearby enough. Example: the Mulberry hills golf course in the very back only a 1/3 of a mile away and not in view of anyone. Proper placement is what the problem is here not that there is not a need.

  4. Tired of the lack of facts   August 18, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Elise Shire— Here is a link to the ADDISON TOWNSHIP Planning Commission Meeting minutes showing they denied a cell tower on the same grounds we have been asking the ZBA and the Planning Commission of Addison Township to do. It clearly shows there is Addison Township precedence on this matter and will be part of any litigation going forward.,%202009.pdf

    • Elise Shire   August 18, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Hi Ron,

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I assure you there was no purposeful neglect to mention this fact in the story. Instead, it was an unfortunate oversight on my part.

      In an effort to correct this, I have obtained the minutes for the planning commission’s January 13, 2009 meeting, along with its Dec. 9, 2008 meeting– both which regarded the cell tower that was denied. I am currently looking into this decision for a future story.

      Thanks again.

  5. Ron Renaud   August 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I have to voice my concerns and disgust with the actions being made by Addison Township in regards to a proposed Verizon Cell tower on Property owned by Addison Township that does not fit Zoning, ordinances or any other factor, in addition to the fact that Verizon has alternative sites to use that would not endanger any child or cause a historical landmark to be forever decimated as well as affecting the Kingsbury School’s ability to operate.
    Thank you for reading these concerns and hopefully you will be just as disgusted as to the way Addison Township is forcing this through even though there are MANY CONCERNS on the proposed 195 foot Verizon Cell tower less than 150 feet from a Historic Kindergarten School (Kingsbury) and 70 feet from their Playground. Not only is this parcel next to a Historic Kindergarten School and Playground, it is a Very LOW swampy parcel that would have difficulty making a good foundation for the enormous tower. Whereby the likelihood of it falling over would be great. Risking lives at the school and property. The site they have proposed is extremely risky and a poor fit for what they, Verizon, want to achieve, which is to better serve and provide more coverage of their cellular service. As for the service improvement needed by the location of a tower, according to, the need of an additional cell service tower would be best placed toward the direction of the Golf Course. South and more West. Please see for the Map of Weak signal/dropped calls (red dots) in the area.
    As far as the need, yes the area can use a better signal BUT the tower should be located as the Ordinance was directing to be; on a 20 acre lot minimally. Not force it on an undersized lot, in Swampy Wet Land within 150 feet of a Historic kindergarten school and within 70 feet of its playground, or in view of everyone when THERE ARE OTHER WILLING property holders with the acreage that would not need to get any variances or special use approvals nearby. Example: the Mulberry hills golf course in the very back of their property near Hosner (please see the map as it is only a 1/3 of a mile away and not in view of anyone) and, in the Addison Twp. Planning Committee Hearing, Bruce Meyers and Kallie Roesner-Meyers offered their property only a mile west of the proposed location. Proper placement is what the problem is here not that there is not a need.
    We asked in both hearings of the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals to weigh our concerns as residents and taxpayers more than that of the applicant –Verizon- as we must live and deal with the decisions they make, but so far we are ignored.
    Here are links to the Meeting minutes of the decisions made in the Zoning board of Appeals of Addison Township:,%202017.pdf
    The Zoning Board of Appeals for Addison Township on July 13, 2017 decided to ignore the packed 25+ people present at the prior ZBA hearing June 8, 2017 that made statements and wrote letters they objected to the site Lot Size Zoning variance, and a 100+ person signed petition objecting to the tower, in addition to, the fact there was NO ONE PRESENT IN THE MEETING other than the Applicant (Verizon) supporting it to be at the proposed location by approving a lot size variance. They, the ZBA of Addison Township, also choose to ignore their own Staunch standings on their Ordinance laws they place on individual property owners and others alike in the township only to break and violate their ordinance requirement on Wireless communication facilities placement, that they themselves created less than 4 years ago, by granting a variance from the required 20 acres to the less than 5 acre lot the township owns. If this does not sound like self-dealing I don’t know what does. They also chose to ignore the very definition of “variance” in their own ordinances- under Section 2.02 of the Addison Township Ordinance as it DOES NOT AUTHORIZE a variance for lot size:
    And I quote–“Variance: A modification of the literal provisions of this ordinance granted by the zoning board of appeals when strict enforcement of this ordinance would cause practical difficulty due to circumstances unique to the individual property on which the variance is granted. The crucial points of a variance are practical difficulty and unique circumstances applied to the property that are not self-imposed. A variance is not justified unless these elements are present in the case. As used in this ordinance, a variance is authorized only for height, area and size of structure or size of yards and open spaces. Establishment and/or expansion of a use otherwise prohibited shall not be allowed by variance, nor shall a variance be granted because of the presence of nonconformities in the zoning district or uses in an adjoining district.” (Emphasis added)
    It must be noted that ZBA has not allowed in its decision or approved any other “variance” other than the reduced lot size variance, as that was what was properly public noticed for and could only be considered at the meetings. This is because the site proposal still does not comply with other parts of the Wireless communication Ordinance and other ordinances, of which I will mention later, but Verizon and Addison Township are pursuing the planning commission’s approval to push this through without delay.
    If you go to the Addison Township Clerk and view and read the letters I sent to the ZBA dated June 6th 2017 and June 7th 2017 and my letter August 7, 2017 to the Planning Commission and all of the attachments/documents I believe that you will see that I have definitively shown that the Applicant- Verizon & Owner of Parcel –Addison Township failed to meet the legal standard for the granting of the requested lot size variance reduction from a 20 acre minimum to less than 5 acres in addition to the proposed Special Land Use application request now before the planning commission to be decided on September 12th 2017. As the factors presented by the Applicant- Verizon & Owner of Parcel –Addison Township do not fit and is in direct contradiction with the Master Plan, the Ordinances and the Addison Township community as a whole. This tower does not fit with our pristine rural character, neighborhoods, community landmarks, historic sites and buildings, and natural beauty areas. It will destroy the look of a Landmark Community School building, Kingsbury School, which has history dating back to 1868 when it was first built and is still in use today. It also is affecting the Kingsbury School today as parents are indicating that they will not be having their children attend the school for the safety risks the cell tower poses. And that this cell tower presents itself as an indication that the school is not living up to what they teach in what the school is known for- its formal Environmental Sciences Program. How does that look to a person concerned about the environment when a Cell tower is placed on a wetland area next to a kindergarten school and playground??
    The applicant, Verizon, will need additional variances of the zoning ordinances and other ordinances as to the distance from the road must include a 50 foot setback from the right-of-way line as required (adding 33’ to the north for the tower placement), NOT FROM THE CENTER LINE OF THE ROAD. They also failed to take into consideration the future road expansion right of way of 60’ requiring the tower to move north another 60’. In total the structure would have to move 143’ north to comply with the setback requirements with respect to Oakwood Road. In addition; is the fact that the wireless communication facility (the “Tower”) does not meet the setback requirements of Section 4.47.4.b.3 of the Ordinance which requires, “the setback of the support structure from all lot lines shall be no less than the height of the structure.” For the Kingsbury Location this means at least 195 feet. The site plan indicates a setback of only 90 feet. The width of the parcel from east to west is a mere 314’. To meet the requirements of the Ordinance it would have to be 400’+ to have the 200’ setback on each side of the structure, not forgetting the actual width of the tower. Despite Applicant’s failure to properly note the distances on the Site Plan, there is insufficient width of the parcel generally to legally accommodate the structure.
    The intent of the Wireless Communication Facilities ordinance is to “avoid placement in a residential zone and for the larger parcels to “hide” the cell tower.” Section 4.47.1 of the Ordinance actually provides, “it is the further purpose and intent of the township to provide for [the authorization of cell towers] in a manner that will retain the integrity of neighborhoods and the pristine rural character, property values and aesthetic quality of the community at large.” (Emphasis added) In Section 4.47.1.h it clearly states “(to) Minimize the negative visual impact of wireless communication facilities on neighborhoods, community landmarks, historic sites and buildings, natural beauty areas.” (Emphasis added)
    Kingsbury School was formed in the late 1800s, In 1861 to be exact, Alonzo Kingsbury, son of the first Addison Township Supervisor, deeded to the township of Addison a parcel of land. A few years later, a log schoolhouse was constructed on this site and named for Kingsbury. This first structure burned to the ground shortly after opening and was replaced in 1868 by the frame structure still in use today. Moreover, Kingsbury School has a long rich history of living and educating in nature so much so that they have a formal Environmental Sciences Program, tens of acres of nature trails, and an outdoor winter program that proclaims “No Child Left Inside”. As it was a donation, is there any restrictions on its use? Was it donated to only include a School and Cemetery? Has the title and its attachments been reviewed? Why can’t it be used for the intention that it was donated for, a cemetery/school expansion? Why doesn’t Addison Township trade land with Kingsbury and place the tower in another area (more north or south as Kingsbury owns)? Why do we want to destroy a historical piece of land?
    Under Zoning ARTICLE 24. – SCHEDULE OF REGULATIONS it specifically details that the height of any structure in the P1 or AG districts to be a maximum of only 35 feet or 2.5 stories. Obviously a 197 Foot Tower does not meet this requirement.
    Section 28.10.1.d requires that a special privilege not be conferred upon Applicant that would be denied to other lands. Verizon (Applicant) responds by saying that towers are not that common and that the Ordinance limits the locations to five zoning districts. The Supplemental Information provided by Verizon implies that the Hosner Location is the only location where a cell tower would work; so it wouldn’t be a special privilege, the site is just special. In fact, if you look at the zoning map of five districts where wireless communication facilities are permitted actually covers approximately 2/3 of the land in the entire township. The topography map shows many locations with higher elevation. The wetlands map shows many sites that have no wetlands. Obviously, it IS NOT A SPECIAL Location.

    I am appealing to you to show your displeasure on September 12th @ 6pm on how a governmental body (Addison Township) that is willing to do whatever they want for themselves and not allow fairness to others on the same requests. I share with you that in January 2009 the Addison Township Planning commission denied a request from a property owner (Saint Augustine’s House Lutheran Monastery on Drahner Road) seeking to allow T-Mobile to place a cell tower on a property next to their Monastery. They (the Planning Commission of Addison Township) again noted the same issues and deficiencies that we have informed the ZBA of as to why they denied the location. (Please see January 13, 2009 Addison Township Planning Commission meeting minutes that is online) It stated it would not be fitting into the “Rural Character” of the area that we are maintaining in our community. And that a cell tower is not fitting with what was planned for the area. (Below is a list of the Denials of the Application)
    • “The applicant has not demonstrated that the facility in location, size and intensity is compatible with adjacent uses. (Planning Commission member Brakefield noted: Sec 4.47 also mention the aesthetic quality of the community at large; it has not been demonstrated.)”
    • “The applicant has not demonstrated that the facility is consistent with and promotes the intent of the township zoning ordinance”
    • “The applicant has not demonstrated that the facility is compatible with the natural environment.”
    • “The applicant has not demonstrated that the facility is not in conflict with the general character and intensity of development in the area.”
    • “The applicant has not demonstrated that the facility will be a harmonious part of the district in which it is situated (the purpose of) which includes “to provide an. environment that is compatible with the exceptional nature of uses located” in the district.”
    • “The applicant has not demonstrated (Section 4.47.1.h) that the facility will “minimize negative visual impact on natural beauty areas”
    • “The applicant has not demonstrated that the facility will be located and designed to be harmonious with the surrounding areas.”
    Here are links to the Meeting minutes of the decisions made in the planning commission of Addison on the denial of the cell tower to T-Mobile and Saint Augustine’s House Lutheran Monastery:,%202009.pdf

    Now if this was the only occurrence a person might believe its ok. But it is not the only occurrence, in November 2008 the Village of Leonard Planning commission denied a request from a property owner (Bob Koski) seeking to allow Verizon to place a cell tower on a property next to Leonard Elementary. In that denial the Village Planning Commission stipulated the same issues we presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals and to the Addison Township Planning Commission. And I quote from the article; “In their denial, they stated the tower’s location ‘will negatively impact the Village of Leonard’s planning goals to maintain a rural, natural environment, and such a structure ‘would be at jarring odds with the skyline and natural vistas.” And; “included the following in their motion to deny; ‘Despite the FCC standards that allow cell towers to operate in residential areas, there remains little significant investigation into the possible ramifications on children of radio frequency emitting transmitters such as those used in cell towers. The motion went on to state, ‘Given the continuing questions and concerns about the use of cell phones by children and the possible long-term effects of radio frequency emissions, and in consideration of the captive audience of students, teachers and support staff that would be required to be in such close proximity for extended periods of time, including recess, an alternate site would be highly more preferable than the current site…” (Please see the link to the Oxford Leader article as the meeting minutes are not available ) In that meeting the planning commissioners “encouraged Verizon Wireless to seek alternative locations for a new tower such as the township’s Watershed Preserve Park”. Again, recommending the Governmental parent of the village to benefit, of which the township now enjoys the income and want more.
    I am also appealing to you to join the parents, neighbors and the communities displeasure with the Addison Township leadership for ignoring and not addressing the health and safety liability the township will now be on the hook for by the ZBA allowing Verizon to build a cell tower on a Lot that is too small for a fall zone and that would not be able to have a viable foundation in a swamp, in addition to possibility of a Cancer risk and risk of debris (like Ice, pieces of equipment) falling from the tower and hitting the children in the playground 70 feet away among other factors presented to the ZBA. These liabilities become the townships as they have a standard that is in place (The Ordinances) in which to deny this tower based upon the risks and why the ordinance and other ordinances were created in the first place.
    A review of the Master Plan reiterates the goals of the community to maintain the rural character of the Township including the preservation of our history, rural view-sheds and rural tranquility, to provide suitable areas for the orderly development of a variety of commercial and service activities including utilizing nearby communities, and to preserve wetlands. Placement of the proposed structure on the Hosner/Oakwood Location does not preserve our history, rural character or tranquility, is not in an area remotely close to commercial or industrial development which would be better suited for this use, and is on a parcel designated in the Master Plan as wetlands. While Verizon & Addison Township claims that it has placed the structure on the property so as to avoid the wetlands, it must so prove, especially after it relocates the structure to take into consideration the setback requirements under Ordinance section 4.47.4.b.3. (Of which the Applicant(s) have not applied for or received Variances) The history, physical and environmental integrity of our land and character of our community will only depreciate if we do not make long term decisions to protect it as laid out in the Master Plan. Placing a cell tower on an inadequately-sized parcel, next to a historic elementary school, on a parcel characterized by wetlands in the heart of the agricultural district goes against the vision the community has adopted for itself in both the Master Plan and the Ordinance.
    During the ZBA Meetings the Attorney Johnathan Crane representing Verizon (note, he was the same attorney in the 2009 Leonard request/denial) and the Engineer Michael Avery stated that in fact the “Hosner/Oakwood location” is not the “Ideal location” it was “more of what was available from a willing participant”. They further stated that they really think “that a more North location would be better”. They continued with the statement “We/I contacted everyone all along Hosner and in the area. And were unable to find any willingness.” (From the first proposed site of Johnathan and Hosner, as written as the name of the project on the plan diagram) and Verizon did not provide proof of this search for an alternative site nor were they asked for Proof by the ZBA or the Planning Commission in their hearings. But, from a survey we have conducted of property owners up/down Hosner road and the surrounding area of Johnathan and Hosner as well as on Oakwood road and the surrounding area this statement is not true. There ARE other willing participants in other areas more north as Verizon wishes to be as a more desirable/fitting/centered location.
    Why doesn’t Verizon believe it wouldn’t better serve its customers by placing it on another willing participants property, the Mulberry Hills Golf Couse property is a willing property owner (in the very far rear most easterly of the property, less than a 1/3- 1/2 of mile distance from the proposed site and a 200 foot higher elevation) or another site more centered like the golf course, in the Planning Committee Hearing Bruce Meyers and Kallie Roesner-Meyers offered their property only a mile west of the proposed location or with another willing participant? (From my understanding and communication with property owners there has been many people willing to accept it on their property up and down Hosner and Oakwood Road from the proposed site) And we would not be exposing children to the possibility of Cancer/Injury or readily see the tower by anyone.
    Please join us in this fight to preserve History, Rural Character, Wellbeing and Safety for our Children and Neighbors. We must never lose sight of what really matters; our children and our neighbors. For our future depends on what we do here and now for them.
    We requested the Planning Commission to decline and reject this tower placement on a poor fitting and inappropriate location that would risk too much for so little. As I stated earlier, the best fitting and beneficial location would be the Golf Course in the very far rear most easterly of the property, less than a 1/3 -1/2 of mile distance from the proposed site or another willing location and in line with the ordinances and Master Plan Addison Township has.
    Can the Township do their sworn duty to fairly and objectively evaluate the evidence and not be bias on the decision of this? I certainly hope they will, or it will cost us all.
    I ask that you attend the Planning Commission on September 12th 2017 @ 6pm to halt this egregious and poorly planned placement of a cell tower.
    Thank you for reading my letter to the editor, I know it is a long one but the entire story must be told and the reports so far have been lacking ALL THE FACTS.
    Many Kind Regards,
    Ron Renaud
    Addison Township

  6. Ron Renaud   August 31, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Hi Elise,

    please review this article for more information on other proposed locations in the past Verizon dealings with Addison Township as their go-to property holder to deal with as they were “approached by Verizon” note the constant.:

    In addition; back then they were getting $35,000.00 a year as stated in the article (please check the records). Why has it become much less?????


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