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Second court hearing set for Friday in Sunset Hills' lawsuit over tower

City officials say Fox 2 tower more suitable site for county

September 25, 2013 - Attorneys for Sunset Hills and St. Louis County are scheduled to return to court Friday morning over the city's lawsuit that seeks to halt the construction of an emergency communications tower on South Lindbergh Boulevard.

Sunset Hills filed the lawsuit Sept. 4 against St. Louis County seeking a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction and permanent injunction prohibiting the county from constructing the emergency communications tower behind the South County Health Center, 4580 S. Lindbergh Blvd. The site is owned by the county.

The hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. Friday before Circuit Court Judge Robert Cohen in the St. Louis County Courts Building, 7900 Carondelet Ave., Clayton.

Sunset Hills City Attorney Robert E. Jones and Associate County Counselor Cynthia Hoemann appeared Sept. 19 before Cohen, who asked them to see if a compromise could be reached.

As proposed, the emergency communications tower would be one of roughly 25 towers being located throughout the county as part of St. Louis County's new emergency communications network.

In its suit, Sunset Hills claims St. Louis County lacks the authority to construct and operate the tower within the city without approval from city officials.

County officials previously requested a CUP from the city for the tower, but the city's Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial of the request. Aldermen later tabled the request to give county officials time to review other possible sites.

On April 23, aldermen voted unanimously to return the county's CUP application to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

In its response to the suit, St. Louis County notes a building permit for the tower has been issued by the county, the county is ready to start construction and the tower is vital to public health and safety.

The city contends taxpayers would be better served by the county placing its equipment on a Fox 2 TV tower near Lindbergh High School — roughly 2,500 feet from the site of the health center.

Mayor Bill Nolan told the Call that city officials estimated the cost of placing the county's equipment on the Fox 2 tower at $51,000 — much less than the cost of constructing a new tower.

But county officials say the arrangement would not make financial sense.

Tags: St. Louis County News, Sunset Hills News

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