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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Cell tower plans progress for Gulf Trace Elementary campus in Pasco



Plans to erect a cell phone tower on the Gulf Trace Elementary School campus in Holiday are starting to move forward, two years after the Pasco County School Board approved a land lease for the project.

Vertex Development LLC has submitted its zoning application to the county government, to kick off its efforts to put a 160-foot camouflaged unipole at the school. The group has called a community meeting for 6 p.m. Monday at the school, to review the plans with the community.

In the meantime, the School Board on Tuesday is scheduled to adjust its lease deal to satisfy financial requirements associated with putting a non-school structure on the property.

The proposal is getting some pushback from at least one neighbor who opposes the invasive nature of the tower at the school, which has been touted for its environmental friendliness. The School Board, which earlier this spring approved another cell tower for Sand Pine Elementary in Wesley Chapel, has rejected arguments that towers pose health hazards.

Board members have said they view cell towers as appropriate revenue generators for the district, which has faced budget shortfalls over the past five years.

Jennifer Frost of Vertex told the Gradebook that she expects the planning and permitting process for the tower to take 8-12 months. If approved, construction would take 6-8 weeks, she said.

[Last modified: Friday, June 14, 2013 11:38am]


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