Village mulls long-term cell tower lease for $280K

The village council in Yellow Springs is considering a perpetual lease on a cell tower with a communications company, which would result in a lump sum payment instead of annual revenue.

Council members were expected to discuss the proposed lease with SBA Properties, LLC at Monday night’s meeting.

If approved, the village would receive $280,000 from SBA, and SBA would not need approval from council every few years to renew the lease on the cell tower, which is located on land referred to as the Sutton Farm.

Village staff is recommending council approve the new agreement, according to a report prepared in-part by Village Manager Patti Bates.

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“In the past, staff has recommended against these buyouts, as the regular income was sometimes helpful in budgeting,” the report reads. “Howver, given the expected increase in 5G small cell towers, staff has reconsidered and recommend to council that we take advantage of this buyout offer.”

The village receives about $18,250 a year from SBA in monthly rent payments for use of the tower, according to village records.

The village would receive less revenue over the long-term under a perpetual lease agreement with SBA, according to a letter from representatives of Springs-Net, a village-based group that wants to bring in fiber optics for high-speed Internet access.

“The existing lease appears to be lucrative for the village, in part owing to compounding from automatic 15 percent increases in rent every five years,” the letter states. “The current lease generated more than $263,000 in the 18 years since it’s signing. However, over the next 18 years it will produce $432,000, and just short of $700,000 in the 18 years following that.”

Other communities in Greene County also receive revenue from renting cell towers that are located on publicly-owned land.

Xenia receives annual revenue of about $42,753 by renting one cell tower to American Tower, according to Xenia spokesman Lee Warren.

The city of Bellbrook rents a tower to the GT Company, which resulted in $17,768 in revenue last year, according to city records.

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Fairborn has a similar agreement with SBA in renting out space at the city’s pump station, 921 Kauffman Ave, and the city receives about the same annual revenue as Yellow Springs, according to City Manager Rob Anderson.

Yellow Springs Council President Brian Housh said the resolution on the proposed lease would only be up for discussion Monday night and a vote was not expected.

If council approves the agreement, village staff wants to use at least half of the lump sum payment to remove the “massive spoils piles and old chemicals that have accumulated at Sutton Farm over the years,” according to Bates’ report.


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