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Proposed South End cell phone tower on hold

Post by News Tribune Staff on March 12, 2009 at 5:45 pm with No Comments »
March 12, 2009 5:45 pm

An application to build a cell phone tower near the corner of South 48th Street and Yakima Avenue is on hold following the discovery of another tower nearby.

The application, which is opposed by the South End Neighborhood Council, was placed on hold March 2, said Charla Heutinck, land use administration planner for the city.

The applicant, T-Mobile, must provide the city with a technical reason why the new tower cannot be co-located with the existing tower at 4818 South J Street, Heutinck said.

If the city has not heard from T-Mobile after 120 days, officials may close out the application, Heutinck said. So far, the city has not heard from T-Mobile, she said Thursday.

The South End Neighborhood Council objects to the location of the proposed tower in an empty lot next to the old Superior TV building, 4638 S. Yakima Ave., arguing that it poses a potential health risk because at 59-feet 11-inches it would not be tall enough to clear some of the surrounding homes.

“The current planned location is at the bottom of a slight hill and as such, the tower will not be tall enough to clear the homes in part of the surrounding area,” Earl Brydson, chairman of the South End Neighborhood Council, wrote in a March 1 letter to the city. “This can and will be a health issue to our community.”

Brydson said the neighborhood council objected to the tower for aesthetic reasons, as well.

“We need to take the steps necessary now to avoid a similar situion with these cell towers that the City City of Tacoma has experienced with billboards. These towers are the billboards of tomorrow and will be costly to remove — if at all possible.”

But city officials are looking only at land use issues, Heutinck said. The FCC and state and federal regulations govern health, she said.

T-Mobile has applied for a conditional uses permit, as well as a setback variance.

South End
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