Cell tower mishap concerns marina owner

Bradenton Beach Marina was a hub of activity May 5. Pedestrians were walking along the sidewalk that passes through the marina. Vehicles were humming on the bridge.

It was business as usual on the south side of the Cortez Bridge, 402 Church St. N., Bradenton Beach.

But the president of the marina is concerned about the safety of his employees and personal property at his business.

Michael Bazzy breathed a sigh of relief April 27 when he learned the large piece of fiberglass that fell from the Bradenton Beach cell tower landed on his property without causing any damage.

Yet, Bazzy sent a brief letter that day to city hall with a photo of the panel on the ground.

“I don’t know if it could happen again,” Bazzy said May 5. “I know that it did happen, and it fell on my property. If they are going to take steps to rectify that and not have it happen again, then that’s fine, but I don’t want it to happen again.”

The 150-foot cell tower is on city property leased by tower owner Florida Tower Partners near the police and public works departments. In a 10-mph wind, the panel fell to the ground sometime late April 26 or early April 27. Bazzy said it hit concrete without damaging boats or other personal property.

According to Brett Buggeln, president of Florida Tower Partners, what happened is “not supposed to happen. This is a very rare … this occurrence doesn’t happen generally.”

Bazzy’s father Allan has owned the marina since 1981. While they are not planning to take legal action against the city, Michael Bazzy remains concerned about the safety of his employees, customers and the pedestrians who walk by.

Meanwhile, parts of the tower appeared uncovered May 5, not unlike it was the week of April 20 before Verizon Wireless equipment and the shrouds were installed.

Buggeln said that’s because his company removed six panels — three of the five shrouds on the tower — “when it appeared they were not fitting correctly. That’s why one of them got some air underneath it. Out of caution we are replacing all of those levels.”

        The shroud manufacturer, TransAmerican Power Products Inc., of Houston, is sending new panels to FTP to ensure a proper fit, Buggeln said May 5.

The initial incident created a stir.

Bazzy said witnesses shot video of the tower when it was undulating, before the panel broke off. “We were all standing out here looking at it, trying to figure out what it was going to do and why it was shaking the way it was,” he said. “We were pretty sure it wasn’t designed to move that much in that wind load.”

Bazzy said he wants to see the tower repaired.

Buggeln said his company’s primary concern is that the tower operates as intended.

While the Verizon Wireless equipment is operational, Buggeln said he has no updates on the status of AT&T’s installation.

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