Green, black cell poles, 8, get FMPC nod

In its move to expand and improve cell phone service, TeleCAD, on behalf of Verizon Wireless, received unanimous approval and recommendations from Farragut Municipal Planning Commission to add eight small cell poles in the Town during FMPC’s meeting Thursday, Nov. 17.

The poles were proposed for the rights-of-way adjacent to 102 Glen Abbey Blvd., 126 West End Ave., 100 Smith Road, 11403 Municipal Center Drive, 11509 Parkside Drive, 101 West End Ave., 100 Brooklawn St. and 11425 Kingston Pike.

“These poles are the first requested since the approval of 11 small cell poles at the Jan. 16, 2020, Planning Commission meeting,” Community Development director Mark Shipley said. “At that meeting, four of the 11 poles were placed within developed residential areas affecting Stonecrest, Farragut View and the Cove at Turkey Creek subdivisions.”

Shipley said those requests drew concerns from residents, but “the Town was ultimately bound by the state of Tennessee parameters that were adopted by the state to facilitate implementation of 4G and 5G coverage with assistance of small cell poles that would supplement macro tower structures.

“Though the state limited the ability of municipalities to regulate certain aspects of small-cell phone installation, it did provide for the opportunity to address the appearance of such structures through an aesthetic plan that would apply to all comparable utility structures within public rights-of-way,” he added.

As such, FMPC members went through each of the poles’ locations, deciding the colors and lighting. For example, they asked the company to paint black the poles located in the Mixed Use Town Center from Smith Road to West End Center. Those with lights in that district, they advised TeleCAD to install decorative lighting to complement the Town’s style in that area.

Other areas would be painted gray or green, especially if in a residential area. However, Shipley said, “as encouraged in the Aesthetic Plan, all eight poles are proposed in areas zoned commercial.

“Five of the eight poles are Type 2 replacement poles that swap existing light poles with new light poles that also accommodate small cell antenna,” he added. “The other three poles are Type 3 new freestanding poles.

Gene Cowden with TeleCAD said the poles could accommodate other carriers; however, he doubts other carriers would use Verizon’s poles.

In a similar action, FMPC unanimously approved Fiberlink installing underground fiber optic cable to service the eight new small cell poles.