Lacey council to review cell tower request

rboone@theolympian.comFebruary 27, 2014 

The Lacey City Council will consider Thursday whether to approve a conditional use permit for a new cell tower, a structure now common to urban landscapes due to the growth of wireless services.

The conditional use permit request from Verizon Wireless comes before the council after the hearings examiner recommended approval, as long as several conditions are met.

The council also could reverse or modify the hearings examiner’s recommendation.

Verizon wants to build a 120-foot cell tower at 8033 Martin Way E., just before Marvin Road and across the street from a Red Robin restaurant

The cell tower site is zoned general commercial and is home to a mini-storage facility.

One of the storage units would be used to enclose equipment at the base of the tower to comply with a city requirement that the equipment be screened from view. But that’s typically accomplished with landscaping, associate planner Samra Seymour said.

Verizon says it needs the new tower to improve wireless service in the area, according to information included for the City Council meeting.

Cell towers must be set back from residential property lines by a distance equal to the height of the tower. In this case, the tower would be set back about 198 feet from the nearest residential property line to the south.

Conditional use permit applications trigger review by the hearings examiner and include a public hearing, although no member of the public attended the hearing, Seymour said.

That hasn’t been the case in Olympia, where the Coalition of Neighborhood Associations has engaged on the issue of cell towers.

“You can’t have wireless without towers,” coalition vice chairman Phil Schulte told The Olympian. “But how we do towers and where we do towers is where I think there can be some reasoned dialogue and cooperation.”

Among 18 conditions recommended by the hearings examiner is one that fencing around the tower not be barbed wire.

The Lacey City Council meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, 420 College St., Lacey City Hall.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

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