Mobile phone reception will improve for long-suffering residents in Flower Mound’s River Oaks neighborhood and surrounding area.
When the Specific Use Permit (SUP) requesting a cell tower be built on the St. Nicholas Episcopal Church property, north of Wichita Trail and east of Skillern Road, came before Planning and Zoning on March 12, commissioners denied recommending the 130-foot tower by a 5-1 vote; Al Picardi voted to support it.
At that meeting, Masterplan Land Use Consultants President Karl Crawley, the official representative for Verizon, said the original tower proposition was requested as a single-carrier, but the town requested additional carriers– Sprint and T-Mobile—that requires additional height over the typical approximately 95- to 100-foot tower.
Resident Mike Kay spoke about the pending application for AT&T for a small-cell tower, in addition to new technologies– like fifth-generation (5G) wireless– which will mean coverage can be improved with small-cell towers, or even on light poles.
“Small cell technology allows you to have a very small radial that’s software driven,” he said. “And, it consumes a very small amount of power and can be placed at inconspicuous locations.”
“Their coverage is measured in feet, not hundreds or thousands of feet,” said Crawley. “But, you still have to go back to a central node. You still need that tower to feed off of.”
Before the Town Council could address the SUP, Town Attorney Bryn Meredith said there are several legal parameters to which the town must adhere when considering the item, based on federal law. One of those parameters is that the town can’t deny the request because of tower height, aesthetics, or other such physical features. Any such denial must be accompanied by a factual reason why.
Given the legal situation, speaking against the item was pretty much a moot point. The unanimously approved tower will hold three carriers and be only 95-feet tall.