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Verizon granted permission for temporary cell tower
new deh city council 5-19-15 pic
Shown is the former St. Rose Ambulatory and Surgery Center in Great Bend. Its pending demolition has forced wireless providers to find new locations for towers that were mounted on top of the building. - photo by Tribune file photo

 Verizon Wireless will be allowed to locate a temporary cellular telephone tower near the former St. Rose Ambulatory and Surgery Center. The Great Bend City Council Monday night approved a conditional use permit for the cell service provider. 

The upcoming demolition of the old hospital necessitated the relocation of two cellular antennae that are located on the roof of the facility. The Nex-Tech has already been relocated, Verizon has not.

The agreement allows Verizon to set up a cell on wheels (COW) in the east parking lot of the facility, City Attorney Bob Suelter said. This will the company to continue service for the western part of the city.

The installation of the COW is limited to six months or until permits are approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the equipment is relocated to the new tower location, whichever occurs first. The permit may be extended by the council in the event the new location site is not approved or the equipment is not available through no fault of Verizon.

The Planning Commission conducted a public hearing and recommended approval. The only appearances at the hearing were representatives of Verizon, Suelter said. 

Nex-Tech established a new tower on top of the Dominican Sisters of Peace Mother House across the street from the hospital, but there was not enough room for Verizon to locate there, said attorney Mark Rondeau, who spoke on behalf of Verizon. Verizon’s will mount its equipment on another Nex-Tech tower north of Great Bend on McKinley Street.

In other business Monday night, the City Council:

• Held a public hearing on and then approved a Community Improvement District ordinance for GBK Ventures LLC. for the Holiday Inn Express. 

CIDs are allowed through the Kansas Community Improvement District Act. Under the act, cities can establish CIDs for improvement projects within the bounds of the district. These are funded by a CID tax (sales tax) levied by the entity requesting the CID and would be returned to the entity. 

In this case, only the hotel would be covered and it would charge a 2 percent tax to its customers to help offset the cost project. No other businesses would be impacted by the tax.

By state statute, such districts can only be in place for 22 years, which is what was requested for this CID. The funds from the district will be collected by the Kansas Department of Revenue which will turn them over to the city so it can disburse them to company. The city is entitled to an administrative of up to 5 percent of the CID money raised. 

The council approved bring the CID to a hearing at its April 20 meeting.

The new hotel will utilize a new Holiday Inn design model, project developers said. The first one of its kind just opened in Manhattan,

Work has started on the Great Bend facility, but it is running a bit behind schedule.

• Approved the Kansas Department of Transportation Federal Fund Exchange Agreement. KDOT has approved the city’s request to participate in the FY2015 Federal Fund Exchange Program authorized by the City Council Feb. 16. In exchange for the federal monies authorized, KDOT will reimburse the city, with state funds, for one hundred percent of the costs incurred pursuant to the attached agreement, up to $167,574.05. This represents a 10 percent reduction of the total funds available ($186,193.39), said City Engineer Rob Winiecke.

The 10 percent is kept by the state as an administration fee. The advantage, Winiecke said is that the money comes from the state with fewer strings attached.

• Heard an announcement of vacancies in boards and commissions. This announcement is made to allow current member who are eligible to reapply for the position or persons wishing to serve to make an application. Appointments will be made at future meetings. 

• Approved a hangar lease agreement at Great Bend Municipal Airport with Tony Martinez for the construction of a hangar at the facility. City Attorney Bob Suelter said under the agreement, Martinez will build the hanger for the city and be able to use it rent free for 20 years. After that, rent will be charged.  

Other hangers at the airport have been built under similar arrangements.

• Approved a request to close Lakin Avenue from Main Street to Kansas Avenue from 5 to 10 p.m. June 22 in conjunction with the 35th Infantry Division Band concert that evening.  

• Approved a cereal malt beverage license for a one day for the June Jaunt Beer Garden on June 6.  

• Heard a report from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes.  

• Approved abatements at: 2201 27th St., owned by April Williams, for accumulation of refuse; and 208 Fruit St. owned by Ismael and Amalia Campos, for accumulation of refuse.

• Heard a departmental update from City Administrator Howard Partington.