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Board approves Campus Lutheran Church steeple with hidden communications tower

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 | 9:25 p.m. CDT; updated 8:51 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Board of Adjustment on Tuesday evening unanimously approved a request for a conditional use permit for the construction of a 41-foot steeple and cross on top of Campus Lutheran Church.

The steeple will contain a concealed communications tower and antenna, which will be used to provide coverage to cellular devices. The addition to the church, located at 304 S. College Ave., will have a 6-foot-tall cross on top of a 35-foot steeple.

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The church's attorney, Dale Linneman, and St. Charles Tower Inc. applied for the permit. 

St. Charles Tower Inc. has contracted with Shive-Hattery Inc. to provide engineering and surveying services for the tower.

St. Charles Tower originally considered several other Columbia buildings for the hidden tower in before settling on the church. A few of these were at Stephens College; Paquin Tower was also a candidate.

What else happened:

  • Linneman said the church does not have a steeple and that adding one would increase its cosmetic appeal. He said the communications tower would be useful for now and the future.
  • Board member Rex Campbell expressed concern about the tower's height and whether it would damage any neighboring residential areas if it were to fall. He was assured by Bob Bardone, spokesman for St. Charles Tower Inc., that the neighboring areas are at a great enough distance to keep them safe if the tower were to fall. 
  • Pat Zenner, development service manager for the city, said this tower is the first cellular communication tower in Columbia that will be hidden inside a structure. There are a number of hidden cellular communications towers in Columbia, but none are in an existing structure such as this one, Zenner said. 

What's next: St. Charles Tower Inc. will have to submit a building plan to the city's Community Development Department and will then have to wait for its approval to start construction, Zenner said. 

Supervising editor is Ann Elise Taylor


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