Scores of Continental Ranch residents were expected to attend a Tuesday night public hearing on the location of a 61-foot-high cell phone tower in a major residential section of Marana.
Carl Junk, a Continental Ranch homeowner whose house is across West Twin Peaks Road from the proposed site, said the owners of approximately 500 homes would be able to see the cell phone tower if it's allowed to be erected on the small piece of property adjacent to a public park and ball field.
"We collected more than 400 signatures from homeowners and turned them in to the planning board, which eventually recommended the site to the council," Junk said. "We plan on being at the hearing and have 180 signed postcards from Continental Ranch homeowners giving us their proxy to speak and act for them at the hearing."
The cell phone tower, designed to look like a palm tree, would be owned by Crown Communications at 7455 W. Twin Peaks Road. Olson Diversified Services, which serves as Crown's representative, distributed material noting the tower's setbacks as 233 feet to the north, 162 feet to the east, 35 feet to the south and 222 feet to the west. It also states the tower will be within 400 feet of a designated scenic route, and that a 15- by 46-foot block wall would enclose the mono-palm and an equipment area. More screening will be provided by a nearby retail center.
Marana Town Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler attended a news conference and public protest in Continental Ranch last Thursday and was peppered with questions by residents. When asked how she would vote on the issue, Ziegler hesitated and then said she could not vote in favor of the tower in its present location, which elicited a cheer from the crowd.
Ziegler lives in Continental Ranch, although she said she would not be able to see the cell phone tower from her home.
"It doesn't belong in this neighborhood, especially being next to a playground and where people gather," Ziegler said. "I hope there's an option of moving it down toward I-10."
Ziegler noted the council can take one of three courses of action after the public hearing — vote on the tower's placement, defer action or send the issue back to the Planning and Zoning board and ask for further information.
Angela Wagner-Gabbard, a homeowner who will have a view of the proposed tower, said Steven Olson of Olson Diversified Services told her there were six possible locations for the tower in the area, but the one proposed was technically the best.
Olson did not return calls for comment before press time.
"They're trying to put this tower in the heart of our community," Wagner-Gabbard said. "It's much too close to the playground and community park. We also wonder what this thing is going to do to our property values."
Jan Jordan, who lives a half mile south of the proposed tower location, said one of Tucson's top Realtors told her home values could be affected negatively by up to 25 percent of value because of proximity to a cell phone tower.
"We have to be concerned as a group about our property values and the spacious views we now have," she said.