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West Valley City Journal

Council denies 100-foot cell phone tower

Apr 15, 2020 05:08PM ● By Travis Barton

An example of a disguised monopole tower with a pine tree. (SteveKazella/Wikimedia Commons)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

In a move to protect an area’s future, the West Valley City Council denied a request to allow an increase in monopole height.

The denial (in a 5-2 vote), blocks a request by Nefi Garcia of APC Towers that would have seen a 100-foot Verizon tower built on ATK Aerospace Systems property near 4100 South and 7500 West. Standard height is currently 60 feet.

Garcia also requested there be an amendment to the stealth portion of the ordinance, where poles can be built and disguised as another option such as trees or flag poles. But Garcia suggested this would be too difficult.

“It’s really hard to do a stealth option that blends in there with the whole flat land (around it),” Garcia told the City Council during its Feb. 18 meeting. When discussing the options of stealth, Garcia felt a pine tree would still stand out, maybe even more so than tower, and a palm tree or water tower can only accommodate two carriers. Garcia added the taller pole allows you to put more phone carriers—Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile—on the pole rather a separate one for each.

“I think it’s better to have one 100-foot monopole with four carriers on it rather than four 60-foot monopoles,” Garcia said.

But the council majority didn’t like the idea of a tower that large all by itself. Councilmembers had noted in a previous study meeting that if zoning in the area changed, the pole would have to stay. Councilwoman Karen Lang said the area could change and a pole hidden by a pine tree would fit better. 

“I think I would still prefer a lone pine tree out there than just a monopole,” Lang said.

Councilman Lars Nordfelt agreed, noting the area has great opportunity and that he’d like “to preserve that.”

The West Valley City Planning Commission had unanimously recommended passing the ordinance in January.