Verizon proposing cell tower at Kimball Junction
June 19, 2015
Verizon Wireless wants to build an 82-foot-tall cell tower west of Walmart and the High Bluffs Plaza at Kimball Junction.
The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing about the tower proposal, with the possibility of approval, on Tuesday, June 23, at 6 p.m. at the Sheldon Richins Building, in Park City.
According to Meagan Dorsch, Verizon Wireless’ public relations manager for the Mountain Region, a new tower in this location would increase the network’s capacity.
"Customer demand for wireless voice and data service is growing rapidly between 25 percent and 50 percent each year," Dorsch said in an email to The Park Record. "We know Park City is a year-round destination. Our goal is to ensure Verizon customers have reliable service in Park City, whether they are visiting the community or permanent residents."
During a work session last month, Planning Commissioners considered Verizon’s request for a stealth tower, which is disguised to look like a pine tree to better blend in with the environment, especially in mountainous regions, but ultimately decided it would stand out more.
The proposal before the commission now is for a traditional, monopine telecommunications tower.
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Despite the size, Sean Lewis, Summit County Planner, said the tower’s visibility will "depend on how well you are paying attention."
"If you’re driving up Ute Blvd around the roundabout, you will probably see it because it will come up over the top of that plaza that is only 32 feet tall," Lewis said. "When you are down a little bit in elevation it might be difficult to see based off of visual simulations."
The area isn’t comprised of many homes, except for Liberty Peak Apartments, Lewis said.
"When you think about where to place a tower this makes a lot of sense as far as being less disruptive," he said. "And if approved it will provide some increased service, not just for Verizon, but eventually for other providers."
Lewis said if the pole is approved, other service providers could install their equipment on the tower without having to go through a formal process.
"From a county perspective in the case of an emergency, more cell sites provide for better communications," Lewis said.
The Planning Department has seen an increase in applications to upgrade existing cellular towers in the area within the last few months, Lewis said. However, he added of those new applications, few requests are made for new towers. Verizon has proposed two within the last six months. Verizon recently received approval to build a new 107-foot-tall stealth tower at the Canyons Resort adjacent to the Iron Mountain Express lift.
"The cell phone companies are fairly active," Lewis said. "More people are getting on cell phones and are becoming more prolific about data. It’s all about data."