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Seventh Day Adventist Church Board votes to pull radio tower application

November 1, 2016
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

A project by the Seventh Day Adventist Church to build a 100-foot radio tower on its grounds at 1813 El Dorado Parkway is officially scrapped and will not proceed.

After a meeting held last Thursday at the church, where more than 50 angry neighborhood residents voiced their unified opinion against the project, a unanimous vote by the Seventh Day Adventist Church Board was had to pull the application.

In an email from Pastor Roger Lucas of the Seventh Day Adventist Church to neighborhood organizer Linda Thompson, he stated the vote was held Sunday at the board meeting to pull the application.

"In consideration of your concerns, I wish to announce that the decision of the Church Board is to withdraw our application for a permit from the City Of Cape Coral to construct the radio tower on our property. We have done so because we have listened to your requests and pleas and have changed our plans to accommodate them. We will seek an alternate way to bring a radio ministry to our community. We appreciate those who offered to help us figure that out.

"The last thing we wanted in our effort to create what we considered a helpful ministry was to create ill-will and alienation. We are sorry to have caused you so much alarm and fear. We never intended for that to be the case. As was expressed at the meeting, we had simply followed the requirements given to us at the time. Be that as it was, we value your friendship and support as neighbors, and we will continue to seek the things that make for peace."

The 100-foot radio tower application was granted by the city of Cape Coral as it was a permitted use and so met zoning requirements. Lucas told the residents at the meeting the church followed all advice and instructions by officials to proceed with the radio tower, a process which took over three years to complete.

Cape Coral Councilmember John Carioscia was in attendance at the meeting and agreed that the church should pull the application.

"I implore you (Pastor Lucas) to withdraw this application," Carioscia said during the question-answer session to a strong round of applause.

The concerns of the residents included alleged health implications a radio tower could impose on nearby neighbors, as well as a potential 21-percent decrease in property value.

Those concerns and words of the neighbors were heeded by Lucas, who promised to make a recommendation to the Church Board to pull the application, which he did and was passed Sunday.

But several residents also offered alternatives to get the church's message out, instead of the radio tower. Those suggested ideas included using podcasts broadcast over the internet, which could reach a much more larger audience.

Carioscia also told the gathered residents he would meet with City building department officials and look into potentially changing the zoning laws so something like this wouldn't happen again.



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