Verizon may have needed to improve service west of Zimmerman, but they refused to work with our community. Verizon refused to accept the alternate site of the Zimmerman water tower. This community came together to oppose building this cell tower at Highway 4 and Highway 1. There were 230 residents who signed a petition opposing its location at that intersection. All five Sherburne County commissioners received phone calls and emails opposing Verizon’s permit. Thanks to the local realtors who submitted letters stating that the Verizon tower would negatively affect property values. We want to thank Mike Meier, Roger Neils, Rep. Jim Newberger and Sen. Dave Brown for listening to the citizens and for considering alternatives. On Jan. 7 , four of five commissioners ignored the opinions of our community when they decided to approve the permit to build the tower in the middle of 200 residences, near a day care, wetlands and the wildlife refuge in spite of the opportunity for Verizon to site antennas on the nearby water tower. County Board Chair John Riebel handed Verizon a permit with his left hand while scolding Verizon with his right hand. Riebel said, “Verizon ought to be ashamed of itself.” Verizon is not the only party that should be ashamed of themselves. Four county commissioners deserve to share the blame handed out by Riebel. This Verizon cell tower is going up in Riebel’s district. He did not stand with hundreds of residents who asked for help. Riebel stood with Verizon. The attitude of the county commissioners was that they approved Verizon’s permit because businesses need to get the best bang for their buck. We expect our officials to enforce ordinances on behalf of the citizens of Sherburne County. Citizens have to obey these ordinances. So do big companies. The laws of Sherburne County apply to everyone. At least they should.
Wade and Lynn Clausen