The Fridley City Council last week approved a special use permit for Sprint/Nextel to build a 125-foot cell phone tower in Fridley.
During the same meeting, the council approved a plat or division of the land that will be home to the new tower. The land, Dahlke Industrial Park, is owned by Greg Dahlke and located in the area of 8170 Hickory St. NE.
The approval of the plat creates two industrial lots on the property. The north end of the property would be sold, and Sprint would lease a portion of it from the new buyer for its tower.
The property would be split so the southern end would be 5.87 acres and the northern parcel would be 6 acres.
Sprint is planning to lease the portion closest to the border of Dahlke’s other property (the south 844 feet), so the tower would not disturb Springbrook Nature Center, said Scott Hickok, Fridley community development director.
When Sprint requested a similar special use permit from the city in 2008, there was concern about how that would affect the nature center. The tower was never built because Sprint changed its mind, and the city revoked the permit.
“There was a major concern about building a tower at such a height at a short distance from Springbrook Nature Center because there could be birds flying into it,” said City Council Member Robert Barnette.
But the new dividing line of the two industrial properties creates more distance between the proposed tower and the nature center, Hickok said.
“This location is a tad bit south, so that the height will not disturb the nature center,” he said.
The tower will be built with surrounding ground equipment, fenced in a 20-by-30-foot area. Sprint is designing the tower to allow for three other wireless carriers to build antennas on the site.
The T-Mobile tower about a quarter-mile south of the proposed site would not meet Sprint’s needs even if Sprint were to add antennas to it. T-Mobile already has antennas at the 125-foot mark, so Sprint’s only option would be to locate their antennas at a lower height.
“It wouldn’t provide adequate coverage needed in the areas (Sprint) is looking to serve,” Hickok said.
The council approved the special-use permit to allow for construction of the tower and accompanying ground equipment with three stipulations:
- Sprint will get a building permit from the city before installing any equipment
- The property owner will submit a landscape plan to the city to ensure the property meets the city code for the number of trees required
- no signs other than warning or equipment information will be allowed on the site
These stipulations were recommended by the city’s planning commission, which had a brief meeting about the permit and a public hearing on May 18.