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Council Will Approve “Kind of Dumb Looking” 150-ft Cell Tower on Palm Coast Parkway

| March 29, 2016

american tower cell coverage

‘If you’ve got a giant bottle and you want to wash it,’ Palm Coast City Council member Bill McGuire said of the 150-foot tree-like cell tower about to go up on city land near the public library on P{alm Coast Parkway. The tower will improve cell coverage along the Parkway.

When the Palm Coast City Council was talking cell towers last summer, council member Bill McGuire ridiculed towers camouflaged to look like trees as “kind of dumb looking.”

On Tuesday, the council said it would approve the first such “kind of dumb looking tower,” a 150-foot monopole that would rise above the city’s water treatment plant just west of the county public library. The tower would accommodate four wireless carriers, among them AT&T, which has had notoriously poor service locally. (AT&T has signed on for that tower.)

American Tower will build the tower, make it look like a tree tower the top—hence its name: “monopine”—and lease the city land on which the tower sits for $24,000 a year, with 3 percent increments every year. The lease is for five years, with options to renew five times for five years each.

The city will not own the tower, the first to be built under the city’s new, more permissive regulations. After some initial hesitation, the council last summer approved relaxing restrictions on cell towers along Palm Coast Parkway, enabling the taller towers and presumably improving cell phone reception, which is poor in several parts of the city. The lease with American Tower also allows the city to install its own communications equipment on the tower, at no cost to the city, City Manager Jim Landon said.

That opened the inevitable line of questioning that ties into the larger discussion about the city’s and county’s emergency communications system. The county in the next few years will be replacing its existing system and possibly improving its reach, though for now it’s not clear what those improvements will entail other than, very likely, some additional towers—either many shorter towers or a few more much taller towers that rise 350 feet.

With that in mind, council member Jason DeLorenzo wondered whether it would make more sense to locate both the American Tower and a potential 350-foot tower at the city fire station on Corporate Drive nearby.

That may not fit the private company’s needs, however. “They were very specific on where the tower could go,” said Steve Viscardi, the city’s IT director, who presented the American Tower proposal to the council today, and whose department budget will profit from the lease payments. “It fills a hole in the coverage, so if it’s even a quarter mile this way, it doesn’t fill their coverage over here kind of thing.”

“I was under the impression that this is part of a system of towers that the city is contemplating,” McGuire said.

“Yes, we’ve been talking for some time, basically of cell phone towers, that’s different from what the county’s needs are, and what those needs are, we have no idea,” Landon said. “If another tower is needed, long term in the future, and what exactly that is and what that tower is going to be, I don’t think anybody knows.”

Nevertheless, DeLorenzo said, the proposed location of the American Tower structure is less than a quarter mile from where yet another tower might well rise. “I’m worried about finding locations for 350-foot towers in our community,” he said. “It just seems that between the parkways is a much better place.”

“The conversation about towers and emergency radio needs is frustrating, Landon said, because the city “should know by now, but we don’t.”

The county doesn’t yet know, Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts, who’s been in correspondence with County Commission Chairman Barbara Revels on the issue, said.

Netts wanted to know what happens should American Tower opt not to renew the lease past the initial five-year term.

“We water it, take care of it,” Viscardi joked, before specifying that the company is responsible for removing the tower within a matter of weeks should it default on the lease terms.

McGuire and even Netts couldn’t resist more snark when an image of the tree-like tower appeared on their screen. “If you’ve got a giant bottle and you want to wash it,”  McGuire said, letting the thought trail.

“Can we decorate this for the Christmas holiday?” the mayor asked. Actually, no: it’s not in the lease terms.

The council is expected to ratify its decision at a meeting next month.

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20 Responses for “Council Will Approve “Kind of Dumb Looking” 150-ft Cell Tower on Palm Coast Parkway”

  1. anonymous says:

    Idiots! Thats quite attractive.

  2. greedy says:

    Its a “MONEY TREE” they have to do something to make up for the loss of the red-light cameras.

  3. r&r says:

    What’s so dumb about that? It’s better then the rest of them.

  4. America Rinaldi says:

    I agree.It looks okay.

  5. OldSeaDog says:

    C’mon everybody——-would you really not prefer this to an UGLY stark tower? The need for increased
    communication is needed for this area from an emergency service aid at the minimum. What the difference in cost would be a worthy concern, but it is needed and is far better than other alternatives, IMHO.

  6. Jon Hardison says:

    Please tell me there are plans to decorate it on the holidays. Maybe put some giant fake presents under it?

  7. Kevin says:

    Butt ugly. The argument that it is needed for public safety is a ruse to cover the big business power of AT&T. And why the need to agree to a 30 year lease option that benefits only one side? Another example of the debasing of our community with ugliness.

  8. TBG says:

    I have seen many cell towers disguised as trees that look quite good. The example you chose to support your bias is lacking it’s upper portion. Show a pic of a complete one and let the people decide.

  9. blondee says:

    If we weren’t talking about it, nobody would probably even notice it was there.

  10. Charles Ericksen, Jr says:

    Alan Peterson started this style years ago, with the tower near the Flagler County airport…

  11. PJ says:

    Who cares as long as I have cell……

  12. tulip says:

    Want to get rid of cell towers? Everybody give up their cell phones (haha). We have cell towers, big deal. They aren’t in our back yards and there aren’t very many of them and enable us to use modern technology. I think the tree shape is kind of “cute” and, after you see it once, you won’t even “notice” it anymore.

    Real trees provide shade and “cell trees” provide the ability for people to be mobile and communicate at the same time. The cell trees look a whole lot better than a big ugly gray tower sticking out of the ground.

  13. Denali says:

    “Netts wanted to know what happens should American Tower opt not to renew the lease past the initial five-year term.

    “We water it, take care of it,” Viscardi joked, before specifying that the company is responsible for removing the tower within a matter of weeks should it default on the lease terms.”

    The Mayor’s question was not answered – allowing a lease to lapse at the end of five years is not a “default on the lease terms”. So what does happen if American Tower allows the lease to lapse????

  14. confidential says:

    Looks okay as long as “a cane” won’t topple it over people, traffic or homes. Got to really measure up to those 150ft extend flat on the ground. and in a circle, just to be realistic.

  15. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    I always have limited cell coverage in the county. This problem of course only worsened once inside any given structure or near a beachfront. Waiting for the county administration and city figure out a plan would be an act of futility as we are all aware.

    So I no longer live in the county. Problem solved.. Well for me..

  16. The Geode says:

    As long as I get better reception in those “dead spot areas”…

  17. Flaglery county's brightest says:

    I work at a cellphone store in Palm coast and for everyone saying it’s ugly or don’t want the tower then why complain about dropped calls why come in complaining about the phone when it’s clearly the cellphone reception in Palm coast is on par with that of let’s say palatka
    Put the towers up get 4g everywhere in Palm coast and stop whining about things you don’t know about it’s not about money it’s about land zoning and rights
    From the mondex to us1 to the hammock on down the cellphone coverage is shit

  18. Mass. Refugee says:

    In Massachusetts we call them “Frankenpines”

  19. Just me says:

    Charles Ericksen, Jr says:

    March 30, 2016 at 6:07 am

    Alan Peterson started this style years ago, with the tower near the Flagler County airport

    and that one looks like the photo from PC neither really fool anyone they don’t look like a tree. Although the ones TBG put up that look like palms look much better BUT still not realistic. why go through the fuss just have them look like what they are????

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