12/20/17 – City officials in Columbus Tuesday night reluctantly approved a conditional use permit for a cell phone tower on Ludington Street. The permit is another step in the process for US Cellular to erect a 120-foot cell tower near Kiwanis Park. The same council in May adopted a resolution critical of legislative changes that restrict a municipality from having any input on tower placement. The resolution asked that state regulations be changed to allow for more local control. Alderman Rod Melotte asked what would happen if the council rejected the permit and City Engineer Jason Lietha noted that Columbus “would be named in a lawsuit.” To add insult to injury, Columbus officials had been in negotiations with US Cellular to lease city-owned property for the tower across from the Public Works Department on School Street, in a location determined by the cell company to be best for reception. Mayor Michael Thom says since city officials would be unable to stop the tower they figured at least the money from the five-year lease could be directed to city parks. However, the cell phone company found a better deal from a private landowner and the tower is now slated to be built nearby at 445 South Ludington Street. The mayor says the deal fell through and the city “gets to look at the tower for free.” A building permit still needs to be issued.