Firm pulls Marana cell tower request - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Firm pulls Marana cell tower request

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Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 11:00 pm

An application to erect a 61-foot wireless communications tower in Marana's Continental Ranch development was withdrawn prior to Tuesday night's public hearing before the town council.

Though Crown Communications had pulled its pursuit of a conditional use permit for a cell phone tower at 7466 West Twin Peaks Road, six residents of the community expressed their opposition to the governing board Tuesday. More were in the audience.

Sharon Schwartz, a leader of the charge, wheeled her motorized vehicle to the podium, then stood up to speak.

"We represent 381 homeowners" in Continental Ranch and Sunflower "to oppose placement of any cell tower" in the residential development.

Schwartz and others challenged the tower on the basis of perceived health risks, aesthetics and property devaluation. "Opposition to cell tower sitings has grown in other parts of Pima County," said Schwartz, who said county supervisors are tightening rules for such towers.

Crown Communications "would be wise to heed all voices that oppose the sitting of any cell tower," Schwartz said.

"We wanted to send a clear message this is not wanted in the center of our residential community," said Angela Wagner-Gabbard. "I'm gladly here tonight to thank the council for listening to its citizens. Together, we made our voices heard, and this is a beautiful thing."

Crown had proposed to present the cell tower as an oversized palm tree.

"I have two palm trees 14 feet high in my backyard," and they don't look like a 61-foot palm, resident John DiPalma said.

"Let them build it close to Interstate 10," where "it'll blend in with all the signs, all the billboards," DiPalma said. "I'm 75 years old, and I've learned not to trust anybody. If it ever comes up again, please …"

"I encourage you to continue to do these things," said Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler, who attended a community gathering on the cell tower proposal last week. She entered that session with an open mind, and "came out thinking 'I'm not voting for this,' nor will I ever vote for it being in the neighborhood."

"We have to keep our neighborhoods our neighborhoods," Councilwoman Carol McGorray said.

After the hearing, Marana director of planning Kevin Kish said "this case is closed, now." Crown Communications "can come back with new applications," he said, but Kish does not expect another such request for Continental Ranch.

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