By STEVEN NALLEY
A C Spire Wireless representative at Wednesday’s meeting of the Starkville Board of Adjustments and Appeals announced the company has decided to table its variance request for a communications tower west of Pinelake Baptist Church instead of withdrawing it as previously planned.
The board also approved a variance request from Saunders and Jordan Ramsey to build a garage attached to their residence, creating a 20-foot rear yard where city code calls for a minimum 35-foot yard. The approval came in a 3-1 vote, with board member Lee Carson voting against it.
David McGehee of CMI Acquisitions appeared at the meeting on behalf of C Spire to discuss what was originally a variance request to place the tower closer to the nearest residentially zoned district than city zoning regulations normally allow. When McGehee and attorney John Wade first presented the request on C Spire’s behalf to the Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission Dec. 13, they met opposition from James Peden, an attorney representing RMR Investment Company, LLC, based in Memphis, Tenn. RMR owns 300 acres adjacent to the proposed tower site and 50 acres on the Highway 25 bypass’s east side.
On Tuesday, assistant City Planner Pamela Daniel said C Spire planned to withdraw the variance request at the meeting, because C Spire’s negotiations with RMR had led to a new location for the tower. At the meeting, McGehee said these negotiations are ongoing and the new location has not been finalized.
“We would like to table this until we finalize a new location,” McGehee said. “We are in agreement with RMR to table this rather than withdraw it. We’re just trying to work with them to find a location that’s better for everyone.”
City Planner Ben Griffith said tabling the request allows C Spire to return to the variance issue later if a new location becomes infeasible and the company returns to its original site plan. He said C Spire’s engineers are still evaluating a location he will not be able to disclose until C Spire submits its official application with his department.
The change of plans is the latest in a series for C Spire’s new tower. The company was originally scheduled to submit its variance request to the BOAA Dec. 14, but that meeting was cancelled. The original agenda for last week’s meeting called for the BOAA to evaluate the variance request before it was set for withdrawal and then tabled.