Delano United has made an official response to this afternoon's MAPC proposal to begin dismantling the Delano Revitalization District - and their information makes the City's motivation even more suspect.
Despite the "Prohibited" designation, the City has already permitted a new cell tower installation, with the Delano Advisory Committee's endorsement. There is no need to remove Friends' campus from Delano, except to set a precedent for future Overlay removals - be it in Delano's, Old Town's, or one of the others. These Protective Overlays are only put in place after much consultation with the areas in question, and arbitrarily making permanent exemptions from them is a violation of the trust citizens have put in the process.
Here is the full text of the letter, sent to the Planner responsible for the request as well as Delano's city countil representatives.
We are writing today in reference to Case #: ZON2016-00020 appearing on the 8/18/2016 MAPC meeting agenda as item #4.
Delano United is the Community Development Corporation that represents the combined voices of the Delano Neighborhood Association, the Delano Clergy Association, local businesses, and Historic Delano. The board members of Delano United also serve on the Delano Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations on the Delano protective Overlay.
The Delano Neighborhood Overlay District Design Guidelines were last revised in 2003. [ZC, p287] They require a formal review and evaluation by staff every six months to determine any need for amendments or other changes. [ZC, p291]
The current 2009 edition of the Zoning Code says that wireless communication facilities are explicitly prohibited in the Delano protective Overlay. [ZC, p146] This is inconsistent with the 2001 Delano Neighborhood Revitalization Plan that intended to "keep out or disguise communication towers" [DNRP, p33]
Friends University is a valued part of our neighborhood. Every Friends campus resident is a member of our Neighborhood Association. This tower will be located at the NW corner of campus in an area much smaller than the two acres requested, next to the future Chisholm Trail parkway system.
Just last November, the Delano Advisory Committee approved installation of a smaller monopole near Quik Trip. It is unreasonable that no similar meeting was called to request their input on this case - that is the purpose of the Advisory Committee after all, is it not? Any reasonable person would question what is different in this case.
There are seven types of overlays designated in our Zoning Code [ZC, p5]. From Airports to Old Town to Historic Landmarks, each of these overlays were created for special purposes unique to their local circumstances. If this case is approved, it will set a dangerous precedent that would effectively invalidate all of those overlay districts. Future applicants will be encouraged to carve out overlay exceptions creating a zoning checkerboard where the rules do or do not apply.
Delano United would like to propose an amendment to the Delano protective Overlay changing wireless communication facilities from the "prohibited" to "conditional use" category. Then the Delano Advisory Committee would have the authority to approve any such disguised communication towers while fulfilling the original intention of keeping out the “non-disguised" eyesores.
The Board of Delano United would ask that you deny this request in favor of amending the overlay to make cell towers a conditional use rather than prohibited; and will agree in advance (in our positions on the Advisory Committee) to a variance in this case. We would further ask for a review of the overlay with City staff, since it has been in place for 15 years. There may be other adjustments that are needed.
Thank you for your attention to this matter,
Jim Martinson - President
Delano United, Inc.
"We are Delano"