January 6, 2010 – Hilo, Hawaii
VIDEO by David Corrigan
South Kona councilwoman Brenda Ford lashed out over an ordinance amending the Hawaii County Code to require a Use Permit for telecommunication antennas and cell towers on the Big Island.
According to the Communication 655 (Bill 186):
During the 2007 State Legislative Session, the legislature adopted Act 171, which allowed the construction and operation of wireless communication antennas and towers as permitted uses within the State Land Use Agricultural District. Prior to the enactment of this amendment, a Special Permit was required from the Planning Commission. Such a permit is no longer required. However, in allowing such uses within the State Land Use Agricultural District without a permit, the surrounding property owners are no longer able to express their concerns regarding the construction of such antennas and towers within their immediate neighborhood. To alleviate this concern, the purpose ofthis bill is to amend the County Zoning Code to require that wireless telecommunication antennas and towers obtain a Use Permit from the Planning Commission before such use is established.
Ford expressed outrage over the ordinance – from Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd – saying it did not go far enough to regulate the appearance and location of such towers. Ford said that although she is not against cell towers, she has been fighting such “500 foot eyesores” for the last ten years. Ford said the county needs to regulate the appearance of the structures so they blend in with the natural surroundings. Ford brought a giant posterboard to the County Council’s Planning Committee to illustrate her argument.