AT&T cell phone tower angering Fort Ransom residentsFort Ransom, ND (WDAY TV) - Frustrations are boiling over in Fort Ransom over a new cell phone tower built overlooking the city's scenic valley.
By: Kay Cooley, WDAY
Fort Ransom, ND (WDAY TV) - Frustrations are boiling over in Fort Ransom over a new cell phone tower built overlooking the city's scenic valley.
AT&T began putting up the tower about three weeks ago without city approval, and people living in town are still fighting to take it down.
David Olson has been living in Fort Ransom for nearly six years, seeing it as the perfect spot to build a home for his family.
David Olson, Resident: “It's kind of a quaint little place like no other place I’ve found.”
But now when he looks outside of the house he's finishing, a 250 foot cell tower bordering his backyard blocks his view.
Olson: “It's right out of our master bedroom.”
The tower went up about three weeks ago, put in by AT&T. Its construction was approved by the township, but never by the city which ultimately has the final say, as the tower falls within its jurisdictional boundaries.
James Thernes, Mayor: “Usually what happens is in a community, you come into a community when you want to build something like this you get input from the community. Nobody here had any input on it.”
And the small community of 77 doesn't want it.
Thernes: “The tower goes completely against what this town is trying to stand for. It's a historic town.”
Thernes says one lie in AT&T's claims is that you cannot see the tower from this part of town called the Historical District, an area Fort Ransom is trying hard to protect.
Olson: “I'm not opposed to the cell phone tower, I'm opposed to the location of it. I think it could've been set back away from the valley.”
Away from the town now financially burdened by the project.
Thernes: “This is a perfect example of a multi-billion dollar corporation bullying or taking advantage of a small community that doesn't have the resources.”
Olson: “I hope the city gets some revenue off of the tower and to be honest I hope they move it.”
If the tower doesn't move, the city will have to change its zoning ordinances and building permit process, both tasks too expensive for this small town.
The mayor is working with city attorneys to figure out what to do next. A spokesman for AT&T says the company is submitting a formal zoning application at the request of city.