An 80-foot tall cell tower proposed for a northwest valley neighborhood is attracting plenty of attention from nearby property owners — and not because they want a stronger phone signal.
Instead, the proposal, for which the Clark County Planning Commission approved a special use permit on Oct. 25, faces an appeal from residents who live near the proposed tower. It also has led to a petition that has attracted upward of 180 signatures from area residents.
The concerns run the gamut from worries about property values dropping to the tower and its antennas spoiling the views.
It has turned into a cause of concern for the neighborhood, off Elkhorn Road between North Jones Boulevard and North Tenaya Way. At the entrance to the gated community east of the tower site, a posted sign encourages residents to sign the petition.
Linda Winslow and Laura Arnold are behind the move.
“This is one we have to fight,” Arnold said.
The tower would be located adjacent to trees, but the trees fall short of 60 feet. As a result, the tower would still be higher than the trees.
“It’s 80 feet tall, so it will be looming over us,” Winslow said.
Given the height of the tower, the opponents say it impacts the entire neighborhood.
“It’s not someone putting in a swimming pool with a patio,” Winslow said.
Their homes range from about 500 to 800 feet away from the cell tower site, within view.
“I personally would never buy near a cell tower,” Arnold said.
So far, they have had mixed results. The Lone Mountain Citizens Advisory Council recommended against approval of the tower. The county Planning Commission approved it after hearing from opponents and the developer, noting in part that it meets county requirements and will aid cellphone reception, which is important for emergencies.
The last chance of halting the project comes on Nov. 20, when the County Commission will consider an appeal.
“I’m just hoping reasonable people will be reasonable,” Winslow said.
According to planning documents filed with Clark County, AT&T intends to build the tower near pine trees and with a design that visually blends in the tower with nearby towers.
The tower would be in the center of a 10.7-acre site and 300 to 350 feet away from property lines, county records show.
A county analysis of the application for a permit found that the proposed tower met the county’s requirements for height and setbacks and didn’t create any negative visual impacts based on the tower’s location near existing pine trees.
County code requires such towers to be at least 40 feet from any street. Under county code, a tower located on a lot greater than 2.5 acres, like this one, must be spaced at least three times its height away from any neighboring residential development. That’s 240 feet in this case.
For Winslow and Arnold, the requirements aren’t strict enough.
“I didn’t know the county was so lenient,” Arnold said.
AT&T believes its request is a “thoughtful project taking in design and placement to minimize the impact,” wrote Todd Howell, a site acquisition manager for Black &Veatch, a firm representing AT&T, in a letter to the county.
“The monopine design will blend in with the existing tall pine trees on this property,” Howell wrote. The antennae will be painted green, Howell told county planning commissioners at the meeting.
The design also will have an average of 3.1 branches for each vertical foot.
“We do not like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree look,” he told officials, according to a record of the meeting.
Howell referred a reporter to AT&T.
In a statement, AT&T spokeswoman Timi Aguilar said the company worked with staff to place the site in an area that is least noticeable and takes into account the natural landscape.
The company also argues that improved access to wireless and broadband service will make homes more attractive to buyers, not the other way around.
As for the opponents, the height of the tree overrules those assurances. Winslow and Arnold said they are not against cell towers, but believe a commercial location would be better instead of a residential neighborhood.
In Las Vegas, there are 238 cell towers of a similar height. Unincorporated Clark County has 2,480 approved cell tower applications.
Contact reporter Ben Botkin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-405-9781. Follow him on Twitter @BenBotkin1.