911 tower being disputed in St. Charles County

7:43 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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By Tracy Clemons

St. Charles County, MO (KSDK) - Some St. Charles County residents say a plan to improve 911 communications will ruin the county's wine district.

The residents plan to ask county leaders to look for other options at Tuesday night's county council meeting.

They're disputing a 450 foot tower being built on land on Schluersburg Road in Augusta in the near future.

"I think my primary concern is its effect on my residence both from a value standpoint and from a safety standpoint," said Larry Simmons. "But the bigger issue is the environment out here."

Simmons lives down the road from the proposed site, where a 180 foot tower already stands across from his home. He says he worries the new one would compromise the wine district's beauty.

"If you destroy the environment, people are not going to want to come out here and they have alternatives. They can go to St. James, Ste. Genevieve," he said.

County Councilman Joe Brazil agrees. He says the council didn't know what it was voting for when it gave the ok for the County Executive to move forward with the project.

"As a county councilman, we were given no notice of any kind where they were putting cell towers," Brazil said. "And if we were to assume where they were putting them, we always figured they'd be about 150 feet. It says nowhere in the language that these were 500 foot towers."

It's part of a larger project, in conjunction with St. Louis and Jefferson Counties, to increase 911 communications coverage. An employee in the County Executive's office says they gave the public ample opportunities to give input, and that there aren't many options.

Jennifer George says building several shorter towers would be more expensive and isn't feasible.

"People move out here because of the beauty of the area. People come to the wineries out here because of the beauty of the area. The engineers took none of that into consideration when placing these towers," Brazil said.

When the entire 911 communications project is over, there will be 12 towers of similar height throughout St. Charles.

The project is projected to be around $29 million.


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