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Mon, Jan. 18

Communications tower near Garland Prairie exit planned

Three weeks ago American Tower got the OK to construct a 190-foot telecommunications tower near the city’s wastewater treatment ponds north of Interstate 40.

On Jan. 11, the company headquartered in Boston, will ask city council to consider a conditional use permit (CUP) to construct a second 250-foot tower south of I-40’s Garland Prairie exit.

Williams City Council tabled a decision on the Garland Prairie tower at its Dec. 14 meeting to give sufficient time for citizens to be aware of what the second proposal entails.

"It will be 30 feet at its base and will be located on private property south of Mountainman Trail and west of Garland Prairie Road," said Denise Ruhling, city planner. "To conform with FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations, it will need a beacon on top."

The tower will have the capacity to accommodate five cellular communications carriers.

Ruhling said the taller tower at Garland Prairie is needed to facilitate communication with the Williams tower, which will be located in the vicinity of the wastewater treatment plant.

"The 250-foot height is needed for communication to pass between the towers due to geographical interference, such as hills and valleys," she said. "Planning and zoning approved the tower, but city council tabled it to provide ample opportunity for public education on the project."

Ruhling pointed out with the addition of the Garland Prairie tower, cellular service along I-40 will improve.

Jennifer Gniffke, a construction specialist in American Tower's Gilbert office, underscored the increased safety factor in emergency situations such as traffic accidents.

"It's important for wireless providers to have coverage along heavily traveled interstates," Gniffke said.

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