The Press Newspaper
Verizon Wireless, which was denied a setback variance by the Oregon Board of Zoning Appeals this year to locate a cell phone tower on city owned property on Cedar Point Road, has proposed another site in the same area.
The new location is also on city owned property behind Oregon’s water treatment plant on North Curtice Road.
The company has had to jump a few hurdles to find a property in the area. Opponents of the previous site said it was too close to a residential neighborhood. And the owners of an existing television broadcasting tower on Cedar Point Road, approximately 1,200 feet from the previous site, was not interested in co-locating with Verizon. Another structure, about two miles from that site at Stadium Road and Route 2, could not be used because it is located outside the target area and is too close to an existing Verizon tower, which would have caused interference and impaired service.
The proposed tower will be located just west of, and a little less than a half mile from, the television tower, according to Jim Gilmore, commissioner of building and zoning.
At a Planning Commission meeting last month, the new site was met with no opposition.
The company is proposing a 250 foot self support tower with space available for other carriers to co-locate. It will be fenced in for safety, and it’s engineered with a zero fall zone so that if a significant wind event occurs, there is a weak point two-thirds of the way up that will buckle, much like a tree that gives with the wind, according to Robert Grant, an attorney for Verizon Wireless, who appeared before the Planning Commission last month.
Grant said the tower needs to be installed to help close current service gaps.
The property is zoned agricultural, as are properties around it. The Planning Commission recommended that council grant Verizon a Special Use in an A-1 Agricultural District property for the purpose of installing a communication tower at 951 North Curtice Road.
There will be no need for variances for front and side yard requirements, unlike the last property, so additional approval from the BZA will not be needed, according to Gilmore.
Oregon Public Service Director Paul Roman said the new site would not interfere with any future plans to expand the water treatment plant.
At a previous Planning Commission meeting, a resident who lived near the site had suggested the tower be located near the water treatment plant, but Roman said it would have interfered with future plans for expansion.
“The area he thought of is where we have our underground clear wells, and that location would have been in conflict with future expansion,” Roman told The Press on Wednesday. “But in the area they are proposing, it will not interfere with future expansion. It’s actually a very good location. It’s definitely better than the first one because it’s further away from residents.”
Verizon decided not to install landscaping around the tower because it will be located behind an existing facility.
Although the zoning code requires landscaping, Mayor Mike Seferian, who is a member of the Planning Commission, said it would be detrimental to the city and advised against it.
As a result, the Planning Commission recommended that a variance on the Special Use to reduce landscaping at the site be approved.
City Administrator Mike Beazley told The Press on Wednesday that both recommendations will go before council next month for approval. If approved, the city would receive $1,000 per month in rent from Verizon.