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Opposition rises against cell tower

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | August 1, 2022 1:00 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — A hearing is scheduled this week before a Kootenai County examiner on a proposed cell tower off Potlatch Hill Road in Coeur d'Alene.

"I do not support the building of a cell tower on this property or in this area," wrote Coeur d'Alene resident Barb Zimmer.

She said it is a residential area of nearly 100 homes and properties.

"The proposed site for the tower is in the midst of homes, and the structure will loom over these homes and those on the other side of the ridge, which is where most of the homes are," Zimmer wrote.

The hearing is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 4, 451 Government Way, Room 1, Kootenai County Community Development.

A second hearing is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 8, at the same place, due to public notification issues, and there could be a third hearing before county commissioners.

According to a legal notice published in The Press, "Ingle, AT&T and SmartLink" are seeking a conditional-use permit to construct a "wireless communication facility to provide the latest 5G and 4G LTE technology."

It will consist of a 150-foot lattice tower and ground equipment on a 7.13-acre parcel of land in the agricultural suburban zone.

It is located south of the intersection of E. Potlatch Hill Road and E. Sky Harbor Drive.

The tower would be with a 70-foot-by-70-foot fenced area accessed from Potlatch Hill Road. It is currently vacant land located within the City of Coeur d'Alene.

Zimmer said many homeowners in the area only recently heard about the hearing.

She said residents of Armstrong Park and other developments will have to see the tower rising into the air when looking in that direction or when they travel on Sky Harbor Drive along Potlatch Hill Road.

"Certainly there is a less conspicuous area where a tower can be built, if it is really needed, Zimmer wrote.

Another area resident, Deborah Bishop, also expressed concerns about the project.

"We already have three 60-foot towers on Coeur d'Alene Lake Road, just below Armstrong Park," she wrote.

Bishop said the project will adversely impact "all of our lives and the lives of the wildlife, including eagles, residing in our neighborhood."

She cited concerns about an increased risk of lightning strikes and fire and said if there is an emergency, Potlatch Hill Road is a single-lane, dirt road with limited room coming and going.

Comments can be emailed to vfinkel@kcgov.us.

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