City to reconsider East Carson tower

A wireless communications company is asking Carson City supervisors to approve an 80-foot cellular tower despite a planning commission ruling against it.

Cricket Communications, a division of San Diego-based Leap Wireless, is trying to expand its operation into Northern Nevada as a low cost, community wireless provider.

In a 4-2 June decision, Carson planning commissioners denied Cricket's plans for the 80-foot tower - which was to be disguised as a pine tree - based largely on the argument the tower was too close to a residential area and a piece of recently purchased open space. Also, the "monopine" tower would be 35 feet higher than is allowed on a general industrial zoned piece of property.

Cricket officials will ask city supervisors Thursday to overturn the planning commission decision, arguing the decision violates the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. The site just off Lepire Drive in East Carson is essential for service coverage as Cricket moves into the capital's wireless market, Cricket attorney Ellick Hsu wrote in his appeal.

Hsu argued planning commissioners denial of the tower was "unreasonable discrimination against Cricket" and that city planners provided no substantial evidence as called for under the telecommunications act to deny the request. Hsu also noted the visual effects of the tower, a bone of contention with area neighbors, should have been irrelevant in the planning commission's decision.

Officials from Cricket Communications were not available for comment Tuesday.

Carson City Community Development Director Walt Sullivan said city code clearly does not allow structures over 45 feet without a special use permit.

"They want to go to 80 feet, and we have felt they have never made the findings to substantiate the extra height," Sullivan said.

Sullivan also noted while Cricket continues to argue for the 80-foot tower, it has applied for a building permit for a 45-foot tower on the site. It would take several smaller towers around town to equal the tall tower, Sullivan said, but appears Cricket has options which would not raise the ire of its neighbors.

What: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

When: 10 a.m., Thursday

Where: the Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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