Current County Issues: The Communications Tower over Rainbow Ranch

Update: During the January 27 meeting, the Washington County Zoning board tabled a decision on a large telecommunications tower until further information could be presented about what further investigations could be completed.

EMA and Zoning Administrator Matt Bierman had brought examples of how neighboring counties Clinton and Perry County handle the requests and requirements of towers.

The application for the controversial tower was first sent back in September but AT&T pulled it after some opposition. Alan Blumhorst, owner of Rainbow Ranch Petting Zoo, raised his concerns about how the large tower would impact his business and his animals. He took to Facebook and local media to try to get the issue out.

But the latest development — that the company would not need to file for a special use permit if the ordinance had been approved. Before the Zoning Board had been advised by State’s Attorney Dan Janowski that if the ordinance wasn’t passed and sent to the full board for recommendation, the county may face a lawsuit.

“It brings up concerns of the people that it is taking away their voice,” Bierman had said during the meeting. “And unfortunately it is.”

Zoning Board Member Patricia Rensing spearheaded the decision to wait until the next zoning board meeting so that the members could get a better look at the information presented.

“It’s our right to do it right the first time,” Rensing said. “In light of the new information, I’d like it explained. I’d like to see it broken down and looked at by the board.”

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