Wichita Riverside neighborhood celebrates victory over cell tower plan – Wichita Eagle

Wichita Riverside neighborhood celebrates victory over cell tower plan - Wichita Eagle
Council votes against cell tower in North Riverside
The proposed 80-foot tower at Woodland and 18th marked the second attempt to gain approval for a facility that T-Mobile says is necessary to keep up with expanding demand for smartphone mobile data services.

The public wasnt allowed to speak during council consideration of the tower, but neighbors were celebrating at an impromptu news conference right after the meeting.

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They say a cell tower would harm the aesthetic atmosphere and property values of their older neighborhood and theres no place in Riverside where one would be acceptable.

A year ago, they beat back a similar proposal by developer Rob Snyder, who wanted to build a tower for T-Mobile on land he owns near the corner of 13th and Bitting.

Its great that its a precedent, that there is protection needed for the first-tier neighborhoods particularly, that are more historic and really have less voice politically, said Claire Willenberg, a leader of the opposition to the towers.

Theres so many large towers on the outside of Riverside that could be used, said Beth Harshfield, who owns property near the commercial site where the tower was proposed.

The neighbors and their lawyer, civil rights attorney James Thompson, said the area would be better served by an array of small cell towers, rather than a tall monopole.

That triggers a requirement that six of the seven council members were needed to approve the tower, while it could be rejected with only four of seven votes.

Clendenin said he supported the tower because it was on property zoned for commercial use and that theres a widening technology gap in Wichita leaving large areas underserved.

The aesthetics, or the visual appearance of this tower, are at the heart of this issue, Claycomb said. If you drive over there and look around, it is predominantly residential, and while it has some limited commercial zoning, its comprised of one-story shops, not large industrial buildings.

The plan was to install an 80-foot wireless cell phone tower for T-Mobile at the northwest corner of 18th Street and Woodland. The property is zoned Limited Commercial.   

"Definitely was a group effort. Definitely had neighborhood support from all the neighborhoods affected. Its great that its precedent that there is protection needed for the first tier neighborhoods particularly, that are more historic and really have less voice," said Claire Willenberg, neighborhood activist.

City discussing 80 ft tall wireless communication facility on the NW corner of 18th and Woodland Ave pic.twitter.com/IXg4wBqNVT

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