Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Plans for cell tower at Carrollwood's Buchanan Middle School withdrawn

Ellen Vaughan, in the back yard with her husband, Lee, says she is cautiously optimistic about plans related to the tower.

STEPHEN J. CODDINGTON | Times (2009)

Ellen Vaughan, in the back yard with her husband, Lee, says she is cautiously optimistic about plans related to the tower.

CARROLLWOOD — What could have been a long fight over a cell phone tower at a school has ended — at least for now.

Jim Porter, attorney for Collier Enterprises II, informed Hillsborough County officials last week that Collier is dropping its appeal over a tower site at Buchanan Middle School.

In January, land use hearing officer James Scarola ruled against the 160-foot tower, saying it might not be needed, would create an unpleasant view and would not fit in with a future land use plan for the neighborhood near Lake Magdalene.

Collier, which is controlled by state House candidate Stacy Frank, appealed the ruling. Collier contended the project met all requirements for a special use permit and that both state and federal law limit local governments' power to stop cell towers.

Porter's March 19 letter did not offer any explanation for Collier's latest move, and a homeowner who opposes the tower said she did know what to make of the development.

"We're very happy that this appeal has been withdrawn because it takes some of the pressure off," said Ellen Vaughan of Woodbriar Village. She, her husband and their homeowners association have spent about $5,000 on legal fees, experts and court reporters in their campaign against the tower, she said.

At the same time, Vaughan said she does not know if Collier will try again later. "We are cautiously optimistic that there will not be a tower behind the fence," she said.

Tower opponents said they believe politics are becoming a factor. Not only is Frank a candidate who could be affected by backlash from homeowners and school parents, but School Board member Jennifer Faliero is facing opposition in her bid for re-election. And, based on the controversy surrounding recent decisions, Faliero is having second thoughts about current school district policy, which allows Collier to lease school land to cell companies to raise money for the schools.

"Our core mission is education," Faliero said. "We have to look at revenue streams. But perhaps we have to think about how we place the towers. The school district has to be good neighbors and good partners."

Faliero denied she was motivated by politics, pointing out that the antitower movement is based in South Tampa while she lives in east Hillsborough. She said she simply believes the divisiveness is unhealthy.

"When you have 300 people calling a school and picketing a school and its principal, the school does not need that," she said.

Marlene Sokol can be reached at sokol@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4602.

Plans for cell tower at Carrollwood's Buchanan Middle School withdrawn 03/25/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 1:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: Scott should keep demanding better for seniors in nursing homes

    Editorials

    The horrific story of elderly Floridians dying from the heat in a Broward County nursing home after surviving Hurricane Irma grows more outrageous. Even as a ninth death has been reported, the nursing home blames the state and has filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Rick Scott's move to prevent it from accepting new …

    Even as a ninth death has been reported, the nursing home blames the state and has filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Rick Scott’s move to prevent it from accepting new patients or Medicaid payments.
  2. DCF announces $133 million in federal aid for low-income families who lost food during Irma

    Hurricanes

    An additional $133 million is being distributed to Florida low-income families to help replace food destroyed by Hurricane Irma, the Florida Department of Children and Families announced today.

    The United States Department of Agriculture has made $133 million available to Florida low-income families to help them replace food damaged during Hurricane Irma
  3. A meatless burger that tastes like meat? Ciccio Restaurants will serve the Impossible Burger.

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The most red-hot hamburger in the nation right now contains no meat.

    Luis Flores, executive chef at Ciccio Restaurant Group, prepares an Impossible Burger at Epicurean Hotel's Food Theatre. Impossible Burger is a plant-based burger that will launch on Sept. 27, 2017 in all the Ciccio Restaurant Group locations, except for Fresh Kitchen. "This burger caters to the carnivorous, not just the vegetarians" said Jeff Gigante, co-founder at Ciccio Restaurant Group. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  4. Plan your weekend: Sept. 22-24: Buffyfest, Arcade Fire, Howl-O-Scream, Wanderlust 108 and 'Rent'

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Pop show

    Florida Björkestra's Buffyfest: Pop culture meets pop music when the Florida Björkestra, a 20-piece alternative-classical ensemble that tributes ground-breaking pop artists, on Saturday will play with eight vocalists for "Once More with …

    The 20th anniversary tour of RENT, shown in 2016, comes to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts Sept. 19-24, 2017. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  5. Chris Archer, 25,000 Cubs fans and Tampa Bay's painful truth

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The biggest ovation inside Tropicana Field on Tuesday night was not for Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who was returning for the first time since managing the Rays.

    "W" flags fly in the stands after the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Rays Tuesday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]