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Sylvan Township OKs CUP for Verizon cellphone tower

Sylvan Township in Cass County voted 2-1 last week to grant Verizon a conditional use permit (CUP) to construct a cellphone tower near the Gull River.

Voting yes were John Wulff and Yvette Adelman-Dullinger. Chairman Greg Booth voted no.

Additional approvals Verizon must obtain include an access road permit and a final picture of the monopine or camouflage design of the tower.

Tower opponent Neil Bratney, who had planned to build a home on an adjoining lot in Sylvan Township, located a few miles west of Brainerd, said he was a little bit disappointed in the decision. He said that tentatively he had no plans to appeal either the township’s conditional use permit decision or its denial of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet.

“It seems like the remainder of the approvals that Verizon is still going to need are mainly just for formality’s sake,” Bratney said. “We have the option to appeal the (CUP) decision but at this point I don’t think we’re going to do that.”

He said his plans to build a home on the property are on hold.

“The bottom line for me is they did make some accommodations for the scenic river,” he said. “I think it’s still going to be a nuisance but less so than the original plan.

Booth, who said he wished Verizon had found a better location further away from the river, noted the tower would not need to be lit.

Karen Smith, a spokesperson for Verizon, said the construction of the tower was sought in order to allow more people to use Verizon’s network. She said more approvals were needed and that it was still early in the process. Smith said she could not identify a timeline for construction at this point.

The township vote on the CUP was March 6.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or Follow on Twitter at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860