Verizon Wireless, which wants to install a cell phone tower on two acres of a city owned 20-acre parcel at 7150 Cedar Point Road, will look for another site at that location after a setback variance was denied by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).
An existing television broadcasting tower on Cedar Point Road, approximately 1,200 feet from the proposed cell tower site, is not interested in co-locating with Verizon. Another structure, about two miles from the proposed site at Stadium Road and Route 2, cannot 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.
Robert Grant, an attorney for Verizon, said at a Planning Commission meeting in June that the proposed site meets the city’s needs in terms of where they would like Verizon to locate the tower, and Verizon’s engineering needs for the project.
The property, said Grant, is located in an agricultural zoning district, which permits towers as a special use. The tower will be located on a 100 foot by 100 foot area, which Verizon will lease from the city. The proposed tower is a 250 foot self-support tower, also known as a lattice tower, instead of a mono-pole, which looks like a light pole. The parcel satisfies the two acre minimum requirement of the city’s zoning code and is large enough to provide buffering from adjacent land uses. It will be surrounded by a chain like fence with barbed wire at the top for security and safety purposes.
Verizon will preserve existing landscaping as much as possible as required by the zoning code and install a continuous row of hedges around the fencing compound to buffer the electronic equipment that will be located at the base of the fenced area, according to Grant. The tower will require lighting, which will be the least intrusive to the community as required by the zoning code.
The proposed site addresses capacity and coverage service issues that have been identified in the area, according to Verizon. The city also supports the location, saying it would help close current service gaps.
Public Service Director Paul Roman said that the city would receive $1,000 per month in rent from Verizon if the company locates the tower on the site.
Some residents have expressed their opposition to the tower at that site.
Bill Myers, of Cedar Point Road, asked why the tower couldn’t be installed near the water treatment plant, away from residents.
Roman said it was not feasible since future expansion of the plant is possible.
The Planning Commission voted in favor of the Special Use Exception (SUE).
At a council meeting on July 23, Mayor Mike Seferian said the city is looking for another spot for the proposed tower at the same site.
“It still may need to go to the BZA for setback requirements, but maybe we can put it in a more acceptable spot on our property,” he said.
“The BZA essentially listened to some of the residents who wanted the tower to be further back from their properties,” said City Administrator Mike Beazley. “We think we can find a location that meets the needs of service in the northern part of our community. We are identifying some locations.”
Roman had identified alternate locations on the property, added Beazley, which Verizon is reviewing.
Law Director Paul Goldberg said he’s discussed the matter with Grant.
“They want to work with the city to put it on an appropriate location and work with the neighbors. It comes before council in a Special Use Exception and they would like to hold off on that.”
Goldberg recommended to council that it open a scheduled public hearing on July 25, then continue it at a future date.
“That would give them time to work with the city to put it in an appropriate location,” he said.
At the public hearing on July 25, Seferian recommended that council open the hearing, then continue it to Aug. 27, which was approved.
“We believe we could have a resolution by then. If not, we may have to extend it to another meeting,” said Seferian.