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Cell tower plans coming into focus

Cell tower plans coming into focus


Long-needed tower on west end of West Memphis in the works

The West Memphis Design Review Commission has approved plans for a new cell phone tower to serve the west side of city.

Phone customers along Rich Road, Clement Road and in neighborhoods near ASU Mid-South have complained of intermittent service, dropped calls and fuzzy reception for years.

One vendor has tried for a decade to locate a tower in the area to improve service.

The new location is set for the northeast corner of Tilden Rodgers Park, right behind neighboring Tractor Supply. Objections from the municipal airport had thwarted previous efforts to build a tower anywhere along College Boulevard.

Lou Katzerman of Tower Ventures originally presented the plans June 27.

“We plan on building a tower as tall as the Federal Aviation Administration will allow,” said Katzerman.

That plan put the tower at a maximum of 107 feet tall, but the company appealed the FAA decision and the full height may turn out to be as tall as a 14-story building. Tower Ventures asked the FAA for an extended study to add another 10 feet.

“At 148 feet we’d get a notice of hazard,” said Katzerman. “The anchor tenant is Verizon. We’ve been working on this for 10 years.”

“Whatever the FAA says they will allow, we will be fine with,” said Airport Manager Candra Suiter.

The mono-pole tower will be surrounded by a wooden fence and landscaped on the exterior perimeter. The city gets a perk for the park out of the deal, too.

“They will put in an access road which will be a windfall for the park,” said City Planner Paul Luker.

“The park redevelopment committee identified this area for a walking trail and this access road will serve a dual purpose. The park is getting part of their trail built as part of this project.”

The commission recommended a special use permit for the tower to city council for final consideration. City Council heard a first reading at the July 3 council meeting, and wanted to wait on the final height before taking further action.

“They are still supposed to present some changes to the tower, if it would be all right, we’d like to wait and see what those are,” said City Treasurer Frank Martin.

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