Officials raise issues with Incline Village cell tower application | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Officials raise issues with Incline Village cell tower application

Ryan Hoffman | rhoffman@tahoedailytribune.com
The red dot shows the location of a proposed monopole.
Provided / Washoe County

PROJECT DOCUMENTS

Click here to view project documents provided to Washoe County.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A proposal to construct a cell phone tower near Tunnel Creek has ignited far less controversy than a much larger tower proposed for the middle of town. Still, officials say they see issues with this latest project as it currently stands.

Most of those issues, as members of the Incline Village Crystal Bay Citizen Advisory Board explained at their May 6 meeting, appear to be procedural.

“The lack of compliance disturbs me a bit,” CAB member Gene Brockman said. “I think it needs a bit more compliance with some of the basic rules.”

CAB Chair Pete Todoroff agreed with Brockman and said, while the proposal is “a much better” project than a proposed 117-foot monopole near the intersection of Incline Way and Village Boulevard, there are issues with the application.

That aforementioned 117-foot monopole — which is proposed by Incline Partners LLC and could support up to four wireless carriers — is currently being appealed by residents after the Washoe County Board of Adjustments approved a special use permit for the tower in April. It is scheduled to be heard by the Washoe County commissioners at their May 28 meeting.

This latest proposal that came before the CAB on Monday aims to improve coverage for Verizon Wireless customers in the Ponderosa Ranch area.

The 40-foot tower would be constructed at 1200 Tunnel Creek Road at the top of a steep embankment above Nevada Route 28 and Lakeshore Boulevard, according to the project application.

As Buzz Lynn of Epic Wireless, which submitted the application on behalf of Verizon, explained Monday, the objective is to make the monopole as stealthy as possible.

He clarified that in order to support more wireless providers in the future, the height of the tower would need to be extended. The company has no plans or desire to proceed down that road, he said.

Craig Olson, the property owner who is leasing the land where the proposed tower would go, seconded Lynn’s statement.

“We know Tunnel Creek is heavily trafficked. That’s why we want it done right,” he said.

Other residents in attendance, however, raised issues with the application.

David Geddes, a neighbor in the area of the proposed tower, said the application lacked several elements required by code, including an alternative site analysis and the correct number of panoramic shots depicting the potential visual impact of the tower.

Wayne Ford, another resident, raised similar concerns. While agreeing that the location is ideal, Ford pointed out that some of the documents lacked a stamp from an architect licensed in the state of Nevada — an issue that Todoroff raised earlier in the meeting.

Lynn vowed to fix those and other issues identified with the application.

After the meeting, Washoe County planner Julie Olander told the Tribune that she saw several issues with the application as well, which is not unusual during the process. When an application comes before a citizen advisory board, it’s really the first review by both residents and staff, Olander explained.

Specifically, she plans to review the code to check on the validity regarding the claims about the number of panoramic photos and the requirement for a licensed architect’s stamp. Since the application is for a special use permit, the regulations could be different, she explained.

Olander said all these issues will need to be addressed before the application comes before the Board of Adjustment on June 6 in order for staff to recommend approval of the project.

For its part, the CAB abstained from taking an actual vote on the project and agreed to submit individual remarks to the Board of Adjustment.