County commissioners took no action to restrict construction of cell towers in Benewah County.

Instead they will meet with representative of Inland Cellular to try to find an alternative location for a proposed tower near Santa.

Commissioners Jack Buell and Phil Lampert agreed to that course of action at a special meeting last week.

The meeting was called after several residents who live near the site of the proposed tower objected to its construction. The people who objected support bringing cell service to the UpRiver area but said they do not want the tower built where it is proposed.

The residents cited health concerns as well as adverse impact on property values if the tower is located where it is now proposed.

The commissioners declined to adopt an ordinance governing cell towers in the county and opted instead to meet with Inland Cellular to discuss alternative sites.

“We have a landowner who will donate ground if it is acceptable to what they want to do,” Commissioner Jack Buell said. “We want to sit down with Inland and find a solution that works for everyone.”

Inland Cellular, a Lewiston company that serves central and northern Idaho, is expanding its service area including the UpRiver and St. Maries area. The company recently built a cell tower in Emida. It planned to build a tower on the Pokey Creek Road, north of Santa.

“A lot of us want the cell tower, we just don’t want where it is at,” Shannon Sanders, a resident of the area, said.

Mr. Buell said the county will meet with representatives of Inland Cellular and discuss options.

“This is not something we want to kill,” he said. “This is just a bad situation. The point is we need to move the tower.”

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