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Supervisors Closer to Approving Cell Tower Rules

Tuolumne County Supervisors are hopeful that they can finish up the debate Tuesday and approve rules for telecommunications towers in the county.

Supervisor Dick Pland says the biggest issue is where the towers can be built. Many residents have said they don´t want the structures near their homes because they€™re eyesores and could pose health risks. Pland serves as the board chairman during the debate on this issue, because Chairman Mark Thornton has a potential conflict of interest.

Pland says officials are trying to strike a balance between getting enough cell phone and wireless Internet coverage for county residents, without taking away from the natural beauty of the area. “We definitely need some additional coverage in this county,” he says, “…and at the same time, (we need to) take care of the interests of our local people who are concerned about not having them in their back yard.”

In addition to restricting where towers can be placed, the proposal also includes making companies pay a minimum $5,000 deposit in case the county ever has to maintain or remove the structure. Officials have been working on the new rules for about a year and a half.