Tower power: Bonita Springs may approve new cell phone tower

Christine Porter has had the same cell phone company since she can remember for one reason: consistent quality service.

The 38-year-old Bonita Springs resident says her Sprint phone works the best in the area.

“I’ve heard a lot of people have trouble with AT&T, so I never considered switching,” Porter said.

This might be because there aren’t enough cell towers in Bonita Springs for AT&T. But come Monday, Bonita Springs City Council may approve a zoning amendment for a new 149-foot cell tower to be constructed in a 3.3-acre Home Depot property at 11941 Bonita Beach Road.

John Dulmer with Bonita Springs zoning said the towers in the city are within five to 10 miles of each other and that there isn’t a tower in that area of town for AT&T. The tower will have an approximately two-mile radius.

Dulmer also said there haven’t been any complaints or concerns from businesses or residents about the tower being built.

In fact, residents such as Kim Rose and her son, Colton Rose, couldn’t be more grateful for the potential for better AT&T service in the area.

“For me, it’s great,” Kim Rose, 47 said while loading items she purchased from Home Depot into the trunk of her car. “I don’t get service very well, it’s in and out. I’m sure people don’t want it here for the looks, but for me it would work.”

Rose and her family live at the border of North Naples and Bonita Springs in a development on Livingston Road before it becomes Imperial Parkway.

“An AT&T tower would help reduce problems with dropping calls,” Colton Rose said about his smart phone. “You can’t get Internet either.”

Dulmer said smart phones use more data and need more towers to handle additional data as it comes through it. At a June zoning hearing, staff and zoning board members made a unanimous recommendation for the tower. Dulmer said the zoning did not need to be changed, rather just an additional use needed to be added to the Planned Urban Development installed by Home Depot for the tower to exist on the property.

The tower will be in accordance with the Lee County Mosquito Control District’s policy to have reflective tape so low-flying planes can see it.

Capital Telecom will build the tower and AT&T will lease space on it. It will also be available for four other carriers.

Attorney Lauralee Westine said the service in the area is poor enough for AT&T to reach out to Capital Telecom to review improving service in the area.

“No carrier looks to build a new site unless they need it,” Westine said. “Usually they’ll look to co-locate, or put their antennas on another tower.”

She said the co-locating option would require only four to six weeks, but constructing a new tower could take up to a year and cost several thousands of dollars.

She said if City Council approves the construction, Capital Telecom would break ground in about 20 weeks.

“I’m very impressed with the city and how they handle applications,” Westine said about the Bonita Springs zoning board. “They are very good about moving things along efficiently.

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