Northeast Tarrant

Proposed 100-foot cell tower in city park upsets residents in this city

Fake tree: Sequoia National Park OKs new cell phone tower

Verizon gets approval from National Park Service for a new cell tower, disguised as a fake tree, to improve cellular service in Sequoia National Park in California
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Verizon gets approval from National Park Service for a new cell tower, disguised as a fake tree, to improve cellular service in Sequoia National Park in California

Some Watauga residents don’t want a company to build a 100-foot cell tower in the middle of a city park , saying it will destroy the aesthetics and atmosphere.

Last week, Wild West Towers Corporation requested permission from Watauga’s Zoning Board of Adjustment to build a 100-foot tower in Foster Village Park because regulations limit towers to 65 feet.

The board voted unanimously to delay the request until the next meeting to give the company more time to talk to residents about the proposal. The meeting has not been scheduled.

Peter Cavanaugh, a representative from the company, said cell reception isn’t good in nearby homes and buildings and that the antenna needs to be 100 feet high to improve coverage and reception. T-Mobile wants to improve service in the area, and Cavanaugh added that other providers will have space on the tower.

The company is building a fence around the cell tower, which will have decorative lattice work and feature the city’s logo, Cavanaugh said.

But residents who spoke against the request questioned why the company wants to put a cell tower in the middle of a park where families gather to enjoy nature or to have a picnic.

Tom Keisser said the park is a place to enjoy nature.

“Does this need to go in a city park, which isn’t built for utilities?” he asked.

Another resident, Neal Cooper, said there are other suitable locations.

“People in this area don’t have cell problems. Once this is built, this is going to bring in more service people. This is a money-making thing for these guys,” he said.

Several people were concerned about possible health risks from radiation, but the the three agencies that identify cancer-causing exposures have not classified cell towers, according to the American Cancer Society. Also, the FCC does not allow local decisions to be based on the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions if the provider is complying with the commission’s rules.

If approved, the city and the company would have to work out a lease arrangement, he said.

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