letter

Dear Editor,

Residents of Upper Sugarloaf Key, supported by residents all over Monroe County, are united in opposition to staking a 199 foot tall monopole communications tower in the heart of their residential community.

The pole, planned for 830 Crane Blvd on Upper Sugarloaf Key, would be erected by Mr. Robert Holladay from Louisiana who has purchased 8 local radio stations. As existing facilities are quite adequate to provide cellular and radio service to the area there is no need for a 20-story megawatt broadcast facility.

The applicant for the tower has not met his obligation to prove unavailability of an alternative facility. A fully functioning tower on Ramrod Key is now serving his purpose adequately.

There are already three existing towers on Upper Sugarloaf and a proposal for another tower near the Fire House on lower Sugarloaf .

Mr. Holladay will have to apply for a “major conditional use “ change and prove that there will be no adverse effect on adjacent properties and compatibility with community character.

The parcel of land intended is the only one left zoned Suburban Commercial in this residential / rural area. This was possible by splitting the property from a larger one, an office building housing a massage therapist among other tenants.

The county’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan states this kind of zoning “may be permitted at intensities which are consistent with the character of the community and the natural environment.”

A 199 foot tower and supporting structure in the middle of a residential neighborhood and the Great White Heron National Refuge is strongly opposed by a steadily growing number of residents and others who enjoy the recreational treasure at the end of Crane Blvd .

They feel they have invested in the properties they chose for the rural and natural appeal of the refuge. The vicinity of such a tower would:

  • Diminish the value of their properties by an estimated 20%.
  • Forever change the magnificent unblemished views of the land and the sky.
  • Forever change the quality of life of the nearby residents as fears of EMT emissions, dangerous to their health, are present each time they look out the window.
  • Forever change the quiet night time peace they now enjoy as the “supporting structures” emit quite some noise all the time from running fans. A gasoline run generator is also in place and will be tested frequently.

Mr Hollander does not live in the neighborhood, or in the Keys, or in Florida. If this tower is erected he will profit from renting out tower space and the residents will bear the burden for his gain.

His plan has gone through the county review committee and will be up for approval by the county planning board on Sept. 30th 2015.

Sadly only one neighbor was informed initially of this planned tower, The county meetings are held in Marathon during working hours and hard to attend for most.

The next meeting of the planning commission concerning the tower will be in Marathon at 2798 Overseas Highway on September 30th, 10:00 am.

Neighborhood meetings are held on Thursdays at 6.30 at the Tiki hut at the Sugarloaf Lodge.

As this is the only SC zoning in a residential neighborhood in the county there is concern this will set a precedence for further towers the way the property was split off an approved commercial use property.

The concerned residents are hoping for a large supportive turnout at the September 30th meeting in Marathon and will create a Facebook page “Sugarloaf Community Forum” to keep interested parties informed.

Thank You,

Claudia Richards

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See the agenda here.

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