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During the October 15th meeting of the Imperial Beach City Council, a request for a continuance by applicant Jim Kennedy to install a T-Mobile telecommunications tower next to an apartment building resulted in a bad connection with one councilmember and the city’s community manager.

The item was first presented to Imperial Beach’s city council back in August, when Councilmember Mayda Winter raised some concerns with the proximity of the tower to a residential area; also, how best to hide the tower was discussed. The council requested some additional information and asked Kennedy to revise the site and design analysis. The item was then moved to the October 15th council meeting.

In the interim, Kennedy began working closely with Community Manager Gregory Wade on possible resolutions. A few days before the issue was to be raised again to the council, Kennedy asked for a continuance in order to afford him more time to address the city’s requests. Wade informed Kennedy that he will be out of town and won’t be able to attend until a December meeting, so Kennedy asked to push the item to a mid-December meeting, when Wade will be present.

The date selected will be the second meeting with at least one new councilmember and without Councilmember Winter, whose is termed out.

“I’m extremely disappointed in T-Mobile and their representative for not being here,” said Winter. “At least to answer the two basic questions that this council asked of them. I would have hoped they would have at least have come to respond to those concerns.”

Wade was asked if any other city staff member could take up the item while he was out.

“It could be taken up by anyone of our staff members. I’ve been personally involved because of the level of controversy, so I personally would like to be involved and that was the feeling of the applicant. The applicant was ready to go at the last meeting, but the council requested a continuance, so now the applicant is requesting a continuance. We didn’t see that was going to be a problem, but I guess that was our shortsightedness.”

Councilmember Winter was not satisfied. “I’ve been part of this discussion for 12 years on cell towers, and I’d like to be a part of this discussion.”

Fellow councilmember Patricia McCoy chimed in. “We have no idea who will be taking up these seats, and I would hate to have someone coming in who has never done this before when we have a level of expertise with Ms. Winter and we could do it sooner rather than later. This really troubles me.”

Councilwoman Winter moved to reschedule the issue for November 19th. The vote passed unanimously, after which Wade shook his head noticeably as he retreated from city staff’s desk.

For more on the poor reception within the Imperial Beach City Hall, visit their website at cityofib.com.

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smuggg Oct. 26, 2008 @ 8:56 p.m.

Imperial Beach remains the most shortsided community in the nation, small minds, petty problems, cliques, no wonder it remains the laughing stock of all beach communities. This cell phone tower was processed and approved by all levels of staff including community groups, planning, design without any opposition. The council as in all past cases involving cell sites normally would rubber stamp their approval, but not this time. It was the council who requested the original continuance under the guise of "time is not an issue lets just get this right". The applicant needed a continuance to try to comply with the random uneducated wishes of the city council and needed the community manager present. When the possibilty existed that the extension would not include the brilliant current council memebers the extension to december was denied. Bulls*** politics as usual in Imperial Beach.

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