County turns down cell tower application for Citrus Springs

The Citrus County Commission on Tuesday told a cell phone company its request for a cell tower doesn't fit in with the nature of the neighborhood.

Brassboys Enterprises Inc. had sought a land-use change that would allow the company to site a cell tower in a maintenance area at the back of the Citrus Springs Golf Course.

Representing the company before the county commission was Lauralee Westine, who told commissioners the 190-foot tower would not be located near any homes, and complied with county regulations for distance between the tower and homes. Residents, however, told commissioners there were many homes in the general area, and that property values would decline if the company were to build a tower there.

A Citrus Springs resident gave the commission a petition with 342 names of residents opposed to the tower's location, and said it was inconsistent with the community's master plan. Another man, representing the Citrus Springs Greens Keepers, said the master plan called for placement of utilities on land set aside for that use - "not on park land," he said. He also said he was concerned about protecting the community's master plan and vested rights, and the company's request represented an encroachment on the Citrus Spring Master Plan.

Commissioners agreed a cell tower might not fit in with the area. "I cannot support this request," Commissioner Joe Meek said. "If this board were to approve this application that is before us, I believe it would not be compatible to the surrounding property owners. "

Agreeing was Commissioner Dennis Damato, who added, "I'm just not convinced, with all the vacant land in that area, there's not a potential, alternative cell tower site that does not impact people in a residential neighborhood." He said he has lived in a golf course community for 35 years, and would not like to see a cell tower in his back yard.

Commissioner Winn Webb said he agreed, and County Commission Chairman Gary Bartell said, "It still is a residential area. And this would be an infringement into the residential neighborhood."

The commission unanimously voted to disapprove the company's request for a cell tower in that location.