By Robert Roy Britt — Verizon Wireless wants to install a 60-foot cell tower to improve coverage in a particularly spotty locale. If the county approves the tower, it would sit on EPCOR property at the wastewater treatment facility south of Boulder Creek High School and just northwest of Cross of Christ Church.
Verizon acknowledged a “significant gap of service” in the area, in a permit request submitted to the Maricopa County Planning & Development Department. “Due to the large call volume and data usage, the surrounding [cell tower] sites are reaching their limits,” the request stated.
The tower, if permitted, would be operational by early 2018, said Verizon Wireless spokesperson Kate Jay. It “will improve coverage around the intersection of Daisy Mountain Drive and North Gavilan Peak Parkway, and will also help capacity in the area.”
EPCOR would lease the space to Verizon, said Arthur Faiello, EPCOR operations manager. The tower “won’t be imposing,” Faiello said. “You might be able to see it from the freeway, but it’s no higher than the utility towers in the area.”
Demand for wireless voice and data service grows 25 to 50 percent each year, Jay told In&Out. “A new cell site is needed in this area to continue to provide reliable service to our customers, including public safety service providers.” She declined to say where Verizon’s other nearby towers are located.
Faiello experiences the area’s poor reception on his frequent trips to the Anthem facility — EPCOR employees use Verizon for their cell phone service. “There are spots where it’s great, and a whole lot of spots where it’s not,” he said.
Verizon considered sites at the high school and elsewhere in town, according to the permit request, which noted that Anthem governing documents prohibit towers in many locations. “This is the only viable alternative,” the request states. The closest residence, according to the document, is 900 feet to the northeast.
Anthem officials have “no jurisdiction over the property,” according to community council documents.
The county’s Planning & Zoning Commission plans a hearing on the necessary “special use permit” application at 9:30 a.m. March 9, at 205 W. Jefferson Street in Phoenix.