Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

TowerCom Must Disguise New Tower

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

TowerCom Must Disguise New Tower

Article excerpt

Byline: Christopher F. Aguilar, Shorelines staff writer

A Jacksonville company that wants to build a cell phone tower in the village of Mayport must disguise the proposed tower as a flagpole and provide landscaping at its base to maintain the aesthetics of the community and minimize its impact to nearby residents.

The proposed 150-foot tower would be built on Jacksonville property at the end of Ocean Street near Mayport Naval Station. The company, TowerCom, also offered to build a pavilion at the village's park next to the Mayport ferry slip and donate a bronze statue to commemorate the fishermen and shrimpers lost at sea.

David Boeff, TowerCom's executive vice president, said Mayport village was the third option for his company to build the tower after looking at other locations, including the Fort George Inlet and Mayport Naval Station.

Boeff said his company had the permits to build at the inlet but decided against it because there could have been future objections. And after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, it would have been inconvenient to put one at the base since technicians would need access to the tower 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.

Mayport was chosen because a tower at the proposed site would provide cell phone coverage to the Fort George area, which is a "dead spot" for some cell phone carriers, he said.

TowerCom presented its cell phone tower proposal on March 18 to the Mayport Waterfront Partnership civic group since the group had voiced opposition to any cell phone tower coming into the community. The partnership had even formed a cell phone tower subcommittee to talk directly with companies interested in bringing a tower to the community and see how its impact could be reduced in the small fishing village. Boeff had been encouraged by Jacksonville to present his proposal to the partnership and receive the members' approval before asking for permits from the city.

Boeff said the partnership had originally asked for the tower to be disguised as a lighthouse but it was too expensive for him to do so. …

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