Volunteers handed out fliers outside city hall Tuesday, opposing spending millions in tax dollars for a 400-foot communications tower.
West Boca residents and businesses affected filled council chambers to speak against the project and urge a postponement.
They cited “tower pollution,” blinking lights on the top and where the tower could fall in a hurricane.
But after hearing out detractors, council authorized spending $2.3 million and up to $3 million on the proposed project.
Then sent the matter back to the county to resolve at the June 27 meeting.
At issue is building a shared city/county tower on the Glades Road municipal golf course site just outside city limits.
The proposed structure would hold the city and county’s emergency communications equipment for public safety, said deputy city manager George Brown, adding. “This is not a cell phone tower.”
The city’s present 180-foot tower is out of date and the city will own the tower once it’s constructed by October 2020, Brown said. “We pay for it and then we own it,” he said about the expenditure. “This is county land, so they have the zoning.”
The final vote was 3-2 to approve an agreement only with Palm Beach County, not the project itself.
Councilman Andy Thomson and Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers voted to postpone, saying this was the first time council considered the project.
But postponing would only prolong the needed tower, and the agreement can be modified, said Mayor Scott Singer. “I’m weighing public safety needs,” he added.
The city has already sold the golf course to GL Homes, so the company was mentioned by several speakers. The deal has not yet closed.
“We are offering to provide land for that tower and GL Homes might be glad to go along,” Dan Cohen, president of Sunshine Wireless Company Inc. told council.
But the offer came in Friday, too late for the city council to consider, Brown said.
“We will be happy to meet with them when they contact us,” Larry Portnoy, GL Homes’ vice president said afterward.
By Marci Shatzman