The controversy over Verizon Wireless’ application to build a 70-foot cell tower in north Baker City has spurred interest among some residents in a topic that generally draws scant attention: zoning.
The city is divided among multiple zones — residential, commercial and industrial being the three main types. Each zone has specific guidelines for the types of buildings, businesses and other developments allowed.
Many critics of Verizon’s proposed tower — the City Council on Tuesday voted to deny the application, upholding a Dec. 4 decision by the Planning Commission — have pointed out that although the parcel where the tower was proposed is zoned industrial, much of the area near Leo Adler Field is residential. Opponents of the tower suggested that the industrial parcel, in a largely residential neighborhood, is something of an oversight.
Industrial properties, as you might expect, allow certain types of developments, including cell towers, that are prohibited in residential zones.
It happens that the Planning Commission has recently been discussing zoning, and in particular the prospect of changing the zoning for some parts of the city.
This, then, is an opportune time for citizens to suggest potential changes. The Planning Commission will meet Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 1655 First St. The meeting is open to the public.
— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor