Group seeks to stop cell, WiFi tower

Marlene Sokol, Times Staff Writer

Published Wednesday, April 21, 2010

CULBREATH HEIGHTS — A group of South Tampa homeowners this week filed a legal appeal to block construction of a cellular and WiFi tower at a small shopping center.

The Culbreath Heights Civic Association and three homeowners say the city of Tampa was wrong to grant a special use permit and variance for a 150-foot tower at 4343 Henderson Blvd.

The site is being developed by F & L Towers, whose principals include Democratic State House candidate Stacy Frank. Another of Frank's businesses, Collier Enterprises II, has a controversial contract to locate cell towers on the grounds of Hillsborough County public schools.

"This tower will be a tremendous eyesore for people … who have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to beautify their neighborhood," said Bill Cook, a spokesman for the group and an activist for People Against Cell Towers at Schools.

In the appeal, filed Monday in Hillsborough Circuit Court, residents say the tower is nearly double the 80 feet normally allowed in that zoning district, that it could fall onto the sidewalk or street, and would interfere with parking. They also allege they did not have enough notice of the zoning hearings.

City Attorney Chip Fletcher said council members considered all those issues before voting, and were advised that they could approve the tower.

"Our role as attorneys is to vigorously defend the decision of the council, and we are prepared to do that," Fletcher said. "We're convinced that they made a legally sensible decision."

Marlene Sokol can be reached at or (813) 909-4602.

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