The Milford Township Planning Commission hopes to soon vote on whether to recommend approval of a proposal to build seven 199-foot radio broadcast towers on the border of Wixom and Milford Township.
This comes after the commission at its Thursday, Sept. 27 meeting asked its consultant, Nicholas Lomarko, to summarize the township’s ordinance language in comparison to the project’s application materials, according to Milford Township Planning Commission Chairman David Kulp.
“We want to see if this request is appropriate to designate this (proposed area) as a wireless overlay zone,” Kulp said. “This is about whether the facts presented to us relate to what’s said in the ordinance. Now we have to decide if the materials are appropriate.”
Sima Birach, the owner of Southfield-based Birach Broadcasting Corporation, asked for a rezoning, special use and site plan approval for the towers — proposed to be located off Maple Road, just west of the Wixom Department of Public Works facility on Charms Road — after he purchased two parcels totaling more than 61 acres so he could relocate the towers from Fenton to Milford Township.
Kulp added that he hopes the commission will vote at its next meeting on Oct. 25 to recommend project approval to the township Board of Trustees.
“We did ask the applicant to come back and also provide an analysis of what would happen if they lower the antenna heights 20 or 30 feet,” Kulp said.
Several Wixom residents, as well as members of the Wixom City Council, have expressed concerns about the proposed project, including potential effects on health, communication interference, property values, and the aesthetic appearance of the antennas.
“The Milford Planning Commission is being very thoughtful and doing a nice job analyzing a complicated application,” said Wixom City Manager Mike Dornan. “Seven towers standing 199-feet-tall are dramatically different than an industrial building going in at 30 feet at the most.
“When you look at the natural vista from the impacted residential areas, it’s definitely a change in the horizon,” he said.
Dornan added that there’s rationale to deny Birach’s request on several grounds based on the township’s zoning ordinance, and the City Council is hoping that Milford Township officials will recognize that, as well.