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More cell towers

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In an unanimous vote Monday night, the Boise Planning and Zoning Commission approved T-Mobile's application to erect a 100-foot cell phone tower at 1742 S. Broadway Ave. The commission also approved a similar tower at 6415 W. Ustick Rd. but delayed its decision on one at 1408 N. 14th St.

Commissioners were swayed by T-Mobile's argument that the single pole on Broadway could be used to "co-locate" along with other wireless providers, thereby obviating the need for three towers. T-Mobile representative Terry Cox and Clearwire Inc.'s Jason Evans assured the commission that their plans allowed for hiding all equipment except for the pole.

Fred Fritchman of the Southeast Neighborhood Association was the only person to speak in opposition to the plan. Fritchman argued that the pole would exert a negative effect on Broadway, one of the city's "gateway streets."

According to Fritchman, the tower will "stick out like a sore thumb" to anyone traveling down Broadway, and the scale of the pole is not compatible with the single family residences across the alley. Fritchman criticized T-Mobile for not specifying which other potential sites they had examined such as Eastgate, Boise State's Bronco Stadium, or the Shopko on Broadway Ave.

Clearwire's Evans responded that sites were scarce, partly because the Boise School District does not allow towers to be erected on its schools. "If there's a tall building, chances are that we're already on it," Evans said.

Fritchman stated that he was satisfied with the process but not the result of the P&Z hearing. Although the decision can be appealed to the Boise City Council, Fritchman said that he did not know if the Southeast Neighborhood Association would take such action.

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