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Cell tower proposal withdrawn

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | October 21, 2023 1:00 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — A proposal to install a cell tower on Shadduck Lane and N. 15th Street was withdrawn Thursday.

"I wanted to provide you notice that Verizon is going to rescind its land use application for the Shadduck Lane property," wrote Josh Hawes of Ryka Land Services, based in Mercer Island, Wash., in an email to Coeur d'Alene city staff.

That means the project is grounded, for now.

"There will be no further consideration for this site at this time and the hearing has been canceled. Any reconsideration would require a new application and associated fees," wrote City Community Planning Director Hilary Patterson.

A public hearing scheduled Oct. 10 before the Planning Commission on the proposed cell tower was postponed when city staff requested additional details about it.

City Attorney Randy Adams, in response to a question from council member Christie Wood, said Tuesday the city was hiring an outside expert "to perform an RF (radio frequency) analysis of the towers that is permitted by our ordinances, and that's going to take some time to do."

He said the goal was to have all necessary information on the proposal before the City Council in January.

A new hearing date had to take place by Jan. 9 to be in compliance with a Federal Communication Commission timeline, otherwise, the proposed tower would have been considered approved.

Council member Dan Gookin asked about the process if someone elected has already expressed an opinion on 5G towers.

Adams said they should simply identify any potential conflict and share any evidence they have.

"But they are not disqualified from voting or debating on the issue," he said.

The cell tower proposal was met with resistance by Shadduck Lane residents and others. One neighbor said the tower would be right outside his home.

"No tower," wrote Steven Vee in a post on the city's Facebook page.

Some have said it would impact their property values and could impact their health, as well.

"Staff received a significant number of calls concerning the cell tower," Patterson wrote in a previous email to The Press. "Some of the callers were inquiring about the analysis and if there was an independent RF technical review of the materials."

City staff reached out to a Verizon representative at Ryka to let them know that staff wanted additional RF analysis conducted "to provide important information for the Planning Commission, staff and the public," Patterson wrote.