Politics
10:35 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

St. Charles County Councilman Questions Radio Tower Location

St. Charles County is planning to build a 449-foot tall radio tower that’s meant to improve communications between first responders.

But the location of the tower is being seriously questioned by at least one member of the county council.

St. Charles County Councilman Joe Brazil has a laundry list of reasons why he doesn’t like the radio tower plan and at the top is putting it near popular wineries in Augusta, where he says it will obstruct views and possibly drive away tourists.      

“I just think it’s just hillbilly to desecrate it like that,” Brazil says.  “There are other solutions, all I want is honest debate about it.”

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, however, says there are no plans to publicly debate the tower’s location and ultimately it will help keep residents safe.

He says the location is purely an engineering decision, and placing the tower on a hill near wineries is the best option.     

“If the engineers said it can go here, it can go there, that would be different,” Ehlmann says.  “But we don’t have that luxury.  We need to put it where the engineers say it needs to be to get the best coverage for the least amount of money.”

In sharp contrast, Brazil also questions the engineering assessment that found placing the tower on a hill near popular wineries is the only good solution. 

Construction of the tower is funded by a $24.3 million bond issue that was approved by county voters four years ago.   St. Louis County and Jefferson County are putting up comparable towers and are part of the St. Louis Area Regional Response System, which includes all three counties.