Cellular tower nearing approval

A wireless communications tower on the southeast side of Seymour has been proposed as a way to help improve cellphone reception for Verizon customers in that area.

If approved by the city’s board of zoning appeals Thursday, the tower would be constructed on property in the 700 block of Meadowbrook Drive behind Walmart Supercenter, according to a representative with Horvath Communications.

The request from Horvath, a Madison, Mississippi-based company, is for a land use variance from R1 zoning (single-family residential) to C5 (commercial-industrial) zoning to allow for the tower.

The Seymour Plan Commission gave the petition a favorable recommendation during an Oct. 8 meeting. The board of zoning appeals is scheduled to vote on the request during a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Seymour City Hall.

David McGee with Horvath said the company has a lease agreement with the property owner for a 100-foot-by-100-foot area, or about a quarter-acre.

That section of property is part of a 28-acre tract that currently is cultiva- ted fields.

“What we are proposing is a 150-foot-tall pole-style wireless communications tower,” McGee said. “It’s off Meadowbrook Drive but backs up to the rear of the Walmart Supercenter.”

McGee said the proposed tower meets the city’s property line setback requirements; however, it will require a height variance to be built, he said. That variance will have to come from the board of zoning appeals.

The tower’s purpose is to fill a coverage gap that Verizon has in the area, McGee said.

“One hundred fifty feet was minimum to reach Verizon’s coverage objective,” he said.

Existing towers are a little more than two miles away, with one to the east on the other side of Interstate 65 and the other to the north that AT&T owns.

The new tower will allow Verizon to “offload capacity from existing sites and provide greater data and voice coverage in the area,” McGee said.

The tower’s design is the most modern style available, consisting of a single pole with no support wires, and it has the capacity to hold additional wireless tenants, he said.

“If additional carriers come along in the future, this will provide an option for them for co-location to minimize the need for future structures,” he said.

Commissioner John Reinhart, who also is a city council member, asked if the company had been in contact with the Federal Aviation Administration to get its approval. He also wondered if it would impact air traffic’s approach to the city’s airport.

McGee said the FAA had determined the tower would not be an air hazard.

Plan commission President Don Myers Jr. said he thought it would be a good idea for the tower to have some kind of light on it for any pilots that might fly in to the airport too low.

Although the FAA does not require the tower be lit, McGee said, if the board thought lights were needed, the company would comply.

“There is a dual-mode light available that would be off during the day and turn red at night,” he said.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.