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Joint Planning Board: Communication tower set to be considered

A variance to allow the construction of a new 150-foot-tall communications tower will be considered Wednesday by the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board.

The tower, which would replace an existing 60-foot-tall at 102 Lincoln Ave. S.E., has been proposed by Roger Paskvan, the owner of Roger's Two-Way Radio, has requested the new tower.

A 125-foot height variance would be required.

Paskvan believes the construction of the Bemidji Regional Event Center has reduced the signal strength of the existing tower.

Roger's Two Way Radio has for 23 years provided two-way radio communications services for law enforcement and first responders in Bemidji and the surrounding area. For the past 15 years, the business has maintained two microwave signal paths from the Lincoln Avenue tower to a tower site on the north end of Lake Bemidji and a tower site on Mill Street.

In the Bemidji area, the business provides services to Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, Bemidji Police Department, county and city services, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, first responders and emergency management.

Across 16 counties, it serves nine police departments, four sheriff's offices, 19 first responder groups, eight ambulance services, 20 hospitals and 18 school systems.

The Joint Planning Commission last month voted 8-0 to recommend approval to the JPB.

Housing plan

The JPB will also consider final consideration of a supportive housing plan for homeless and transitioning families.

The Headwaters Housing Development Corporation hopes to build a 20-unit supportive housing project on 5.1 acres of land now owned by the Beltrami County Housing and Redevelopment Authority north of the Bi-County Community Action Program, Inc., building north of 15th Street.

The project would provide permanent and short-term rental housing and supporting services for homeless and transitioning families.

The JPB on Nov. 4 considered the Planned Unit Development of the development, but decided the revised plan has changed enough to prompt reconsideration by the JPC.

The JPC first considered the plan in September. Then, the JPC voted 10-0 to recommend approval, but suggested several changes be made.

The JPC last month voted unanimously to again recommend approval.