BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Benton County Planning Board approved a Cellco Partnership (does business as Verizon Wireless) telecommunications tower in the Garfield area on Wednesday, October 7, the vote was 7-0.
This discussion was tabled from a 2019 meeting — when the proposal was for a 195-foot tower.
Instead, the approval is for a 250-foot tower (about 25 stories) that will be located on a private property owned by Charles Capps. The company will lease a portion of the 11-acres of land from Capps.
The actual height will be 260 feet, once the lightning rod is added, according to the plan.
The location is three miles east of Hwy 37/Hwy 62 intersections in Gateway. Two things: The property is not located in a Benton County MS4 area (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems) and is not in the FEMA regulatory floodplain, according to the Benton County Planning Board agenda.
The tower will be set back from the nearest edge of all roads and will be located by no occupiable residences “within a distance of the height of the tower plus 50-feet,” according to the agenda.
A narrative states, “The site is proposed well off the Highway, nestled in a wooded area on all sides, which will shield all but the top of the tower from view from the road and surrounding properties.”
The base will have a locked fence around it of at least 6 feet in height and topped with barbed or razor wire. Signs must be posted warning against trespassing and an emergency phone number must be on the signage, too.
In a letter, Verizon stated in its narrative, “that the tower will improve coverage and network reliability, benefitting the residents, businesses, and commuters in the area.” David McGehee with CMI Acquisitions stated, “as 76% or more of E-911calls come from wireless devices (per FCC data), network reliability has become vital to public safety.”
Local attorney Steve Hardin represents a group of people who are against the tower. “Almost 50 people voiced objections, either by notification or in-person and one person supported it,” he said. The tower, which will be east of Gateway, is a game-changer for quality of life. “[This tower] takes away the enjoyment of life,” he said.
Hardin said they’ll be exploring options as to what to do in the near future.