Fight Continues for West End Cell Tower - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Fight Continues for West End Cell Tower

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The fight continues for a cell tower on the west end of Panama City Beach.

While residents don't dispute the need for better cell service, those living in the Jamaican Lakes community don't like that the tower could be in their back yard.

News 13 spoke to people for and against the tower and property values are a concern for both sides.

When you break it down, the Carillon Beach area of unincorporated Panama City Beach is both a tourist and resident draw. It's the first area travelers see coming into Bay County from Walton County.

For Castaway Grill and Carillon Rental Properties Owner, Reid Simmons, The lack of cell service has turned business away. It's something he said cannot happen when we are already fighting a down economy.

He has installed several micro-cells to boost service in his restaurant, but when News 13 tested out its effectiveness, multiple cell phones showed "no service."

Simmons has been part of the group behind the 180 foot monopole cell tower that would service 5 providers.

It's been brought before the bay county planning commission before and has been rejected twice. The main reason? It's proximity to the Jamaican Lakes subdivision.

Homeowner president, Bob Albers, said land development codes require the pole be at least 90 feet from residential properties. The Sunbird Management Company, who's appealing the latest pole rejection, wants to construct it just 57 feet away.

Albers said this is a safety issue and it could potentially lower property values. This is something that will also turn buyers away.

Now, the appeal to the Planning Commission's Decision will be brought before the Bay County Commission on Tuesday morning at 9 am...

Commissioners can overturn the planning commission's ruling if they find evidence of factual errors in the record of the final appeal. It would seem this is what the Sunbird management company is trying to prove.

Meanwhile, residents of Jamaican Lakes are hoping that the tower won't be a back yard fixture.