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Rural residents can do little to stop cell towers in ‘backyards’

By Reed Anfinson

Based on current Swift County conditional use permit history, policy, and ordinances, it appears rural residents are powerless in stopping the placing of cell phone towers near their homes.

And, the county could see a fair number of new towers based on the 5G network’s need to have towers no more than six miles apart for the best service.

At the Swift County Board of Commissioners meeting July 18, Allison Nelson of rural Kerkhoven pleaded the case of her family against the siting of a 260-foot-tall cell tower 315 feet from their home.

At a county planning commission meeting July 17, Nelson and her husband, Jesse, argued against placement of the cell tower so close to their property just outside the City of Kerkhoven on Swift County Road 6. Jesse Nelson was unable to attend the county board’s July 18 meeting because of work obligations.

“I’ve learned a lot about conditional use permits in the last 24 hours,” Allison Nelson told commissioners. “I know that public opinion doesn’t necessarily change anything and anyone who isn’t here to voice their concerns is considered compliant if they were sent a letter and didn’t attend.

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