Cell towers coming to your neighborhood

The bogus pine tree that will carry the wireless transmission elements will stand more than five times taller than the surrounding buildings.

The bogus pine tree that will carry the wireless transmission elements will stand more than five times taller than the surrounding buildings.

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors will be asked to approve two new AT&T cell towers in the Verde Valley Dec. 17. One tower is also proposed near Prescott Valley and one near Williamson Valley, but the company recently withdrew an application for a faux water tower in Chino Valley.

The Verde Valley towers are to be disguised to look like towering pine trees. The application shows the structures will stand 99-feet tall and be located at Sedona Shadows west of Sedona and in the Verde Village northwest of the Quick Country Store on South Village Drive.

Even though most Americans now use cell phones, the applications have drawn heat from area residents and concerned citizens.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project says that 88 percent of adult Americans now have a cell phone and there are now more than 285,000 cell sites across America.

The proposed location in Verde Village is a partially occupied 1/3-acre lot in an industrial area, adjacent to steel warehouse buildings, but backing on a residential area. The huge bogus pine tree that will carry the wireless transmission elements will stand more than five times taller than the surrounding buildings.

The Sedona tower is proposed to be built at the Sedona Pines Resort. An 80-foot tall cell phone tower within a flagpole already stands near by that site. The 'monopine' will stand 19 feet taller.

Steve Mauk, the county Development Services Director, said there was a lot of opposition at the Planning Commission meeting and there are a number of letters leading up to the County Supervisors meeting. Mauk says the county has "several criteria concerning the placement of wireless communication towers designating "the most favorable to the least favorable situation."

While "co-location" of the elements (placed on the same tower) is among the most favorable situations, that is not possible with the flagpole west of Sedona, making an additional facility necessary.

Mauk says the Planning Commission recommended two waivers of county code restrictions, including height. Structures are limited to 30 feet. The other waiver is a setback to prevent the tower collapsing on adjacent buildings. Engineers showed documentation indicating the tower is designed to collapse where it stands.

Citizens are complaining that the towers will decrease property values and block views.

The county supervisors will make their decision on the towers during a meeting Monday, Dec. 17, 9 a.m., at the Yavapai County Annex in Cottonwood, 10 S. 6th Street.

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