Monday, March 30, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Wireless companies put up more ‘stealth’ towers

By
From page B7 | June 22, 2014 |

DES MOINES, Iowa — One might be hidden in a cross on a church lawn. Others are disguised as a cactus in the desert, a silo in farm country or a palm tree reaching into a sunny sky.

Whatever the deception, the goal is the same: concealing the tall, slender cellphone towers that most Americans need but few want to see erected in their neighborhoods.

As telecommunications companies fill gaps in their networks, many have sought to camouflage the ungainly outdoor equipment that carries the nation’s daily supply of calls, texts and data. It’s another indication of how the industry is evolving to meet the demands of consumers who insist on ever-increasing amounts of wireless information but won’t tolerate large antennas looming over their homes, parks and other beloved sites.

“Each community and each neighborhood can be different, so we really have to work on a case-by-case basis with each city and with each zoning authority,” said Karen Smith, a spokeswoman for Verizon.

So-called stealth cellphone towers have been around for more than two decades and appear to be growing in popularity. They have been concealed in a wide variety of ways, including in a stop sign in New Orleans, a pine tree in Kinnelon, New Jersey, and a water tower in San Dimas, California.

Now an Iowa church wants to join the club by building a tower in the shape of a cross. It’s a move that’s irked some nearby residents who think the design will be too big and too out of place. It also shows how sensitive the issue can still be.

The First Presbyterian Church in Des Moines is working with Verizon to construct a tower that will be dressed up as an 11-story cross. The deal, which is being reviewed by a city zoning board, includes annual compensation to the church.

“Like a lot of churches, we have to keep each year finding ways to pay our bills,” the Rev. Ken Stuber said. “It’s an unusual church that doesn’t have to worry about something like that.”

Suzette Jensen said the tower’s height and color wouldn’t match the church’s exterior, making it an instant eyesore. The pastor said that would not happen.

“We pay some pretty high property taxes. We feel very strongly that it’s going to be a detriment to the value of our homes,” she said, adding that neighbors are considering legal action.

Scenic America, a nonprofit that works to preserve scenery along the nation’s roads, has generally opposed the building of more communication towers, but the group has been more amenable to disguised designs.

“We’ve been in favor of disguising them if you can and you can do it well,” said spokesman Max Ashburn. But even some of the disguised towers are dead giveaways.

“You can tell right away that they’re not what they pretend to be,” Ashburn said. “Sometimes the attempt to cover them up actually makes it stand out more than if they just put up the tower.”

When Verizon first contacted the church last year, the company proposed standard designs for the tower. The church ultimately pushed for the cross-shaped design, which mirrors a tower outside a church in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie.

STEALTH Concealment Solutions Inc., a South Carolina-based company that offers hidden antennas and towers, has created dozens of multi-tasking steeples and crosses over the years.

In 1992, a BP sign at a gas station in Atlanta earned the distinction of being the first stealth cellphone tower in the country, according to the company. Designs have expanded over the years and now include a quirky pole in Liberty, Michigan, that looks like a pencil.

Cindy Wishart, a STEALTH spokeswoman, said the company is constantly educating people about the industry and its possibilities.

“They always associate concealment as a tree,” she said. “It’s just so much more than that.”

Specific data on the number of stealth towers is limited, but STEALTH said it works on up to 800 projects a year. The Wireless Association, an industry trade group also known at CTIA, said the presence of towers in general around the country has dramatically increased over the years in an effort to expand coverage.

At the end of 1997, the country had just over 50,000 cell towers. By the end of 2012, the most recent year for which information is available, that number had jumped to more than 300,000.

Stuber said he was surprised by the community backlash.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “Churches put up crosses all the time that are simply crosses. This will be a cross that’s also helping us to pay our bills.”

Jensen said the tower should be put in another location because space outside the church is too small. In Des Moines, a minimum 10-acre lot is needed for a communication tower. The church has just over three acres.

Smith, of Verizon, would not go into detail about the tower, although she did say the company chooses locations that fit within a geographic radius and meet engineering specifications.

People constantly need more data “to do all the different multimedia applications that are now part of their lives,” Smith said, creating continual pressure to “add more capacity to our network to stay ahead of that demand.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

2 drivers killed in same area, an hour apart

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

 
Easter activities, events abundant

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Christians begin Holy Week with Palm Sunday celebrations

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
My guide to dining out

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

Local governments post week’s meeting times

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Top young spellers to compete for Solano title

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

Police investigate shooting off North Texas Street

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Vallejo police seek leads in weekend homicide

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Biz Buzz: Wiseman officer names Perez to key post

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A10

 
Biz Buzz: Re/Max hires new Realtor

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Biz Buzz: PAL receives donation from glass company

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
.

US / World

Police ramp up rail-crossing citations after recent crashes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Analysis finds unequal pay for women on California Capitol

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Songwriter injured in California crash; motorcyclist killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Taylor Swift wins artist of the year at iHeartRadio Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Drownings along Rio Grande spike after enforcement surge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Grandma is a centerfold: Rest home bares all for calendar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Police: 2 bodies found in NYC building explosion rubble

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Islamic State group beheads 8 Shiites in Syria’s Hama

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Waving fronds around the world, Christians mark Palm Sunday

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Air Canada plane makes hard landing short of Halifax runway

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Small tsunami generated in Pacific after earthquake

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
.

Opinion

Venezuela, Argentina deluding themselves

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A8

 
Personal accounts drive CARB hearings

By Betty Plowman | From Page: A8

Who speaks for our Founding Fathers?

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: March 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: March 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 30, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

 
Parenting: If a father is abusive, a mother must act

By The Washington Post | From Page: B8

 
Horoscopes: March 31, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B8

.

Entertainment

TVGrid March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
Michelle Obama declares ‘Black Girls Rock!’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

TVGrid March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

 
Spartans Final Four-bound after 76-70 OT win over Louisville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Duke back in Final Four after 66-52 win over Gonzaga

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Montoya holds off Power to give Penske 1-2 sweep at St. Pete

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Stanford’s Randle chases school scoring record, title at NIT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hamlin wins for 25th time, and fifth time at Martinsville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hamlin wins for 25th time, and fifth time at Martinsville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jimmy Walker wins hometown Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Oakland OF Josh Reddick won’t be ready for start of season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
California Chrome heads to Britain, to race at Royal Ascot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vettel wins Malaysian GP to end Mercedes streak

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Joe Gibbs on son: most courageous person I’ve been around

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Chodounsky defends slalom title at US Alpine Championships

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
South Carolina earns 1st Final Four berth, beats FSU 80-74

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Turner says Saturday regional finals highest-rated in decade

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Apology for wrong anthem for El Salvador before game in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cain goes 4 innings in Giants win over LA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Graveman pitches into 7th inning as A’s beat Brewers 7-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Robert Roberts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janice Jewel Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C. March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Beetle Bailey March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Zits March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Blondie March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Pickles March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Get Fuzzy March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sally Forth March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Dilbert March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote March 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Frank and Ernest March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
B.C. March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Blondie March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Peanuts March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Baldo March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Rose is Rose March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Beetle Bailey March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Dilbert March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Garfield March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Pickles March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Zits March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sally Forth March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Get Fuzzy March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Wizard of Id March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Word Sleuth March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Bridge March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Sudoku March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Cryptoquote March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8