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Cell tower in Gladstone OK’d by zoning

Gladstone might get a giant telecommunications tower and, with it, improvements to bad cell service.

The Stark County Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved a 400-foot tower to increase cellphone coverage in the area. Multiple board members brought up personal experience with bad cell service in the area when voicing their support for the tower.

One nearby landowner, Tracey Walth, spoke in opposition to the project, saying there is an alternative location three-and-a-half miles southwest, and that the height of the tower will diminish enjoyment of scenery and will devalue land.

“This is a huge structure sitting out in the middle of the prairie,” he said.

But, because of the poor and sometimes nonexistent cell service in the area, board members were all for the project.

“We’ve been waiting for communications out there,” Duane Grundhauser said as he made a motion to approve the permit.

The AT&T tower will increase communications for cellphone use, said Oly Olafson, from Ulteig Engineering, who represented applicant Municipal Communications.

If the full county commission approves the permit at its meeting Tuesday, and if weather doesn’t cause delays, the tower would be constructed in mid-May and would be operational in early June, Olafson said.