A 150-foot cell tower is being proposed within a Horizon West development.
Orange County government leaders hosted a community meeting Thursday, May 16, regarding a request to allow for the construction of a 150-foot-tall communication tower at the Sutton Lakes Planned Unit Development in Horizon West. The Sutton Lakes PUD is located north of Arrowhead Boulevard, East of Avalon Road and south of Hartzog Road.
To construct the tower, the applicant is requesting a waiver for a reduced distance in separation from the tower to a single-family residential area. The county code contains separation requirements for communications towers that are based on the type of tower and the zoning of land adjacent to a tower or proposed tower location.
The type of tower being proposed within the Sutton Lakes PUD is a 150-foot monopole tower. This type of tower has a separation requirement of 700% of the proposed tower height between the proposed location and residential properties, which is a separation requirement of 1,050 feet. The proposed tower meets that requirement to the north, south and east of its proposed location — but not to the west, Chief Planner Eric Raasch said.
“In the location that they’ve chosen, if you go across Avalon Road to the west, they’re roughly 680 feet or something like that, away (from residential properties),” Raasch said. “They would need a waiver on the west side (of the proposed tower). They meet the distance requirements on the north, south and on the east.”
Raasch added the Sutton Lakes PUD — currently undeveloped — has residential entitlements for development. However, if the cell tower is built first, the residential uses can be built adjacent to the tower with no waiver required.
Scott Glass, an attorney with Shutts & Bowen LLP, spoke on behalf of the project and said, if constructed, the new tower would help improve the service capacity of the area.
“What it does is it helps build the network,” Glass said. “Wi-Fi (and cellular service) is like a road, and if you have (a certain amount of) lanes and (so) much traffic at a certain time of day, if you can divert some of that traffic to another tower, everyone gets better coverage and your carrier doesn’t squeeze you down on your data speeds. It covers an area that’s not (covered) there now, but will be. And it also gives you stronger (service) in that area.”