Noah Demarest of STREAM Collaborative

Any potential development on a 2.5-acre parcel at 815 S. Aurora St. will have to wait a little longer.

The Board of Zoning Appeals had before it on Tuesday evening an "interpretation from the Director of Zoning Administration" regarding the city's cell phone tower ordinance. Under that law, no structures can be built within the "fall zone" of a phone tower, which is twice the height of a tower. There's phone tower at the Aurora Street site that is 170 feet tall, and the property's owners, Modern Living Rentals, were looking for an interpretation that reduced the fall zone to 180 feet from 340 feet.

When they appeared before the board on Tuesday, Noah Demarest of STREAM Collaborative and Todd Fox and Charlie O'Connor of Modern Living Rentals were informed that the city attorney, Ari Lavine, had offered his opinion the BZA cannot override council-made law.

"It's not within the jurisdiction of the BZA to counteract or nullify ordinances passed by Common Council," chairman Steven Beer told the three men. "It's not possible to act in such a way in response to this to allow for the appeal to be granted."

If the group had come asking for an area variance, Beer said, they might have been able to get approval for their plans.

Demarest told the board that before going through everything associated with appealing for a variance, like site plan review and environmental review, they were hoping to get a "ballpark of how much of this land is developable."

Demarest had better luck in getting variances to setbacks and parking requirements for a new house at 228 W. Spencer St., and at a building owned by Fox at 108 Ferris Place.

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