For the Peoria planning staff, putting a cellular tower disguised as a palm tree in the middle of a desert sticks out like a sore thumb. T-Mobile wants to install a 50-foot-tall "monopalm" wireless facility at the future Lake Pleasant Promenade Retail Center at the northwest corner of Lake Pleasant Parkway and Jomax Road. Monique Spivey, associate planner, said the monopalm design is not compatible with the natural characteristics of the area, which has no palm trees. Murphy said that the city approved a similar palm-tree design farther south of the site and that the company looked at a number of options, including a flagpole. The problem with the flagpole design, Murphy said, is that it would limit the amount of equipment that could be enclosed inside and would require T-Mobile to locate an additional cell site sooner to fill in service gaps in the area.


Chris Jacques, acting planning manager, said the area sits within the city's Desert Lands Conservation overlay, which seeks to protect the pristine desert environment north of Pinnacle Peak Road by ensuring designs are sensitive to the environment. Commissioner Marc Melbo asked if the company was advocating the monopalm because it was the most cost-effective. No, Murphy responded, saying it actually would cost more to build and maintain a monopalm structure. Chairman Greg Loper said he generally sided with staff's recommendations, but not in this case.
The commission voted 6-0 to allow a conditional use permit for T-Mobile, which would allow the monopalm provided it could not reach consensus on an alternative design with city staff.


T-Mobile wants to install a 50-foot-tall "monopalm" wireless facility, like the one pictured in this file photo, in Peoria. You can share your full access digital subscription with a friend by simply entering in their email address.
Instead, staff recommended at last week's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting that T-Mobile build a flagpole wireless facility or some other acceptable design, such as a light pole.



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