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No site on state owned property for Lapeer 9-1-1 tower

August 31, 2011 - There will be no 9-1-1 tower on state land in the Hadley Hills area anytime soon.

Lapeer County Central Dispatch Director Vic Martin has been seeking a tower location in the southern areas of Lapeer County to rectify coverage issues with regards to 9-1-1. After members of the Christ Lutheran Church rejected a proposal last month by the Lapeer County 9-1-1 to construct the 250-foot tower on a section of church cemetery near Hadley and Fox Lake roads. Martin continued the search and continued his appeal to the state to utilize a tract of land near the same site.

"Basically since the state land was purchased with federal money, then it must be set aside for purposes like camping or hunting. People should be walking in the woods on that property—it's not for a tower or a subdivision for that matter. It's like the state parks."

Martin said his options for the tower are very limited.

"We're still in a holding pattern right now," he added.

"Some residents have come forward, but their land is very costly."

Other land owners will lease the property and want compensation for additional cell receivers that could be added.

"We're trying not to spend taxpayer money," he said.

Martin said that communication problems have plagued Hadley, Metamora and Almont. To fix this problem, four towers are planned for the southern section of the county, including the Brocker Road area. Of concern is the use of mutual aid with other communities—the new towers will be a major plus for several areas of Lapeer County, he said.

Brad Stoddard, director responsible for oversight of the public safety radio system serving federal, state, and local first responders for the Michigan Public Safety Communications System, said the state-owned property has some unique ownership features.

"State land can be utilized, however, who had owned the land prior to donation to the state and how the land was purchased plays a key role in obtaining the parcel for other uses."

Stoddard oversees about 1,400 towers statewide.

"Some of the state land was and is available; however, it's still restricted in uses. It really all depends on how the deed is written. That can become very specific. Still, taxpayer logic would be to utilize the land for common good of the public. But that just might not be the case."

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