A CUP Permit #2017-009 is being discussed for a cell tower on Banks Lowman Road situated near the Garden Valley Pioneer Cemetery. The parcel is 87 acres. The applicant is Mercury Towers GV and the CUP application will be reviewed by Boise County Planning and Zoning in Garden Valley School Flex Room at 6:30pm on Thursday, September 21st.
Written comments can be made by September 14th and sent to the Boise County Planning and Zoning Office, PO Box 1300, 413 Main St., Idaho City, ID, 83631. Oral testimony may be given at the schedule meeting.
The application for the cell tower is on the property of Vicki Larson of Star, Idaho. The cell tower would be at 155 feet in height. There is a road that would be graveled and leads to the tower location specified in the application by Parcel numbers since there is not a designated postal address yet.
Mercury Towers looks at a growing Boise County with need for wireless Telecommunications to serve Garden Valley and Crouch. The nearest tower is on Highway 55 which does not assist the area with wireless services. In the application, Mercury Towers felt that the chosen location is on a hilltop that would give better telephone and data reception, thereby giving “excellent coverage to an area the currently does not have coverage.”
The proposed tower design will be disguised as a pine tree. The hope is that the pine tree disguise would possibly much more appealing, much like a cell tower in Eagle, Idaho that is hidden by the tree-like camouflage. Since placement is adjacent to a heavily wooded area of the property, the representative with Mercury Towers felt that pine tree disguise would be in harmony with the other characteristics on the property and “blend in”. The adjoining properties are mainly meadow with no current structures and is zoned Agriculture and Agriculture Residential. A potential residence could be built in the future, but was noted that I would not be on the land the tower would sit on.
The tower is said to be able to hold multiple carriers. The fiber optics recently installed across the area help new companies want to provide their service to the communities of Garden Valley and Crouch. This would be a reliable network to provide phone service and high speed internet. Aaron Gunn, Manager, explains in the letter to Planning and Zoning that economically, it is vital to the growth of the area.
In the Comprehensive Plan of Boise County, education is discussed when permitting. The cell tower would help reach the school since it sits on a ridge, and would provide faster and a more reliable service to students participating in activities and strengthens technology capabilities for classrooms and libraries.
Since the Garden Valley airport is 2.6 miles from the tower, there will have to be approval filed that there is No Hazard to Air Navigation. The location of the tower also will be helpful to meet the demands and needs of law enforcement and emergency responders, according to the application. Communications including Amber Alerts are sent through the wireless facilities. The application letter to Planning and Zoning staff also notes that people are using their phones and other wireless devices as their main forms of communications not only while traveling but as their main source at homes.
The Garden Valley Pioneer Cemetery is close to the tower location, but will not be impacted. The developed gravel road is adjacent to the cemetery which leads to the tower but will not disturb the cemetery. The property owner has developed this road on their land.
The wireless cell tower application stresses how the area will be strengthened while meeting social and economic needs. The tower will be providing the first aesthetically pleasing wireless telecommunications facility in Boise County and there will be no cost to the public. Mercury Towers will fund the costs of all construction and maintenance.
The public is invited to come to the public hearing in September. Details will be discussed as how the tower impacts the community on many levels. Charts and elevations will be presented. The application is also on the Boise County website at www.boisecounty.us/Planning_Zoning for further review. There is also a page that can be printed for written comments.
Banks Lowman Road is heavily traveled all seasons. Now, more than ever, it is pointed out in the application that wireless coverage is a must. “Coverage is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.”