SHEPHERDSVILLE - The question is simple: Do Bullitt County planners want a say in how cellular towers are installed or do they simply want to make it an administrative function?
For years, local officials have been told that they have no actual say in the location and construction of cellular towers.
However, planning attorney Tammy Baker said a Supreme Court ruling does give local planners a little more say in the matter.
She told the members of the Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission that she felt there were two ways to approach the situation.
First, if there were no local planning regulations, the application would simply be required to follow standard setback requirements.
However, if the commission has regulations, those could be considered. Also, the existing comprehensive land-use plan could be considered.
Previously, all matters went to the state Public Service Commission.
With an application from AT&T Mobility for a tower off Clermont Road, planners will meet on Thursday at 7 p.m. to decide what route it wishes to take.
Commissioner Larry Watkins said he wasn’t sure the board members had enough knowledge on the placement of cellular towers.
Board member John Miller was concerned about the location of this particular tower. He said it would be next to the rail line for the Kentucky Dinner Train and Bernheim Forest is close to the location.
“I don’t think we can make an educated decision,” said Watkins.
Miller said he felt the local planning commission should have a role in making the final decision. But he also agreed that members need some type of training.
Assistant planning administrator Roanne Hammond said Hardin, Oldham and Nelson counties do have ordinances to control cellular towers.
Besides the current applications, Hammond said two more towers are planned for the Highway 44 West area.
The commission voted 8-3 to have the county have the final say in any cell tower applications.
Baker said a decision must be made on the current application by March 14.
A special meeting has been set for Thursday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. at the courthouse annex. The only topic will be for an educational seminar on cellular towers. The public is invited to attend.
The next regular meeting of the Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission will be on Thursday, March 10, at 7 p.m.