Citing fears of a drop in property value and the possible health effects of living near a cellular phone tower, property owners near a proposed tower east of Sedgwick have lodged a protest.

It’s a protest that, so far, has been successful as the Harvey County Planning and Zoning Board failed to recommend a conditional use permit, and the county commission sent the issue back to the board for further review and an explanation of what led to the board not recommending the permit.

“This is something we do regularly,” commissioner Chip Westfall said. “We send towers back to the board. In the meantime, Alltel will keep looking.”

Alltel selected the site, according to a letter the company mailed to the county in October, after reviewing two other locations — including the grain elevator in Sedgwick.

Representatives of the company told the commission they reviewed sites offered by the city, a site in a salvage yard and the grain elevator.

The company ran into environmental problems — at least one site was within a flood plain — and also struggled to get a lease with at least one landowner.

“We are at the last option,” said Ken Steinbach, an Alltel representative, Monday. “This is the third or fourth choice we have looked at in Sedgwick.”

The location of the tower was selected to provide better cell phone service to Sedgwick and the Interstate 35 corridor.

But neighbors to the proposed tower have no interest is the tower being built — 13 of the 19 surrounding property owners filed a protest against a proposed cellular phone tower east of Sedgwick in a wheat field.

The issue will be revisited by the Planning and Zoning Board in March. A meeting notice will appear in The Newton Kansan.

In other business the commission:

• Approved a conditional use permit for the construction of a building to be used as a motorcycle repair shop. The shop, a 30 by 60 foot building, will be located approximately 1/4 mile south of Southeast 60th on the east side of South Kansas Road.

• Learned the Centennial Park Bridge, located on Kansas Ave. by Newton’s Centennial Park, has been closed by the county road and bridge department. The bridge had been slated for replacement in 2011, however a spot check led to closure of the bridge.