New varieties of trees have been sprouting up all across the country, reaching heights of over 100 feet in just a few days. If it sounds unlikely it’s because they are actually faux trees designed to disguise cell towers which have proliferated in populated areas. They look like elms or palms and even take other covert forms to blend in with their natural environment.
Hiding huge cell towers is not new but it has become a tricky and essential strategy for wireless companies who’ve been focused on developing their networks. Concealment is no longer an amenity it’s a necessity and local governments have become sophisticated about the process, insisting on quality camouflage options. In many cases, concealment requirements are clearly spelled out in local ordinances. Savvy wireless carriers who need to expand their services have also become adept at balancing the need for superior cell coverage with maintaining a neighborhood aesthetic in populated areas.
Unlike the pines and elms that hit the industry 20 years ago, today’s new generation of stealth designs are not only more creative but superior in quality. As the first sites required retrofitting, the need for resilient, radio frequency-friendly materials which could support transmission and withstand the elements became widespread. Today the industry has grown with networks of designers, builders and suppliers who can create just about any kind of concealment to suit the needs of municipalities.
In the Southwest, for example, it’s not uncommon to hide a tower in a giant Saguaro cactus or in a boulder to simulate a barren landscape. In New England, the best way to blend in has been in church steeples or clock towers. Other stealth designs include light and flag poles, farm silos, sports-stadium lighting, smokestacks, false windmills, monuments and crosses. Structures have also been constructed to preserve the historic and architectural dignity of a locale such as water tower replica built by AT&T Wireless at Point Sur State Historic Park in Big Sur, CA. In historic Mendham Borough, N.J., a 145-foot bell tower was added onto St. John Baptist School, perfectly matching the building’s brickwork to camouflage a cell towers.
Site Acquisition Specialists Streamline Projects
In both public and private right-of-way cases, the wireless industry has become adept at blending towers into the natural setting to ease concerns about spoiled vistas. As long as the new antennas abide by local zoning laws and moratoriums, communities recognize the benefits of faster and more reliable wireless service coverage.
From the start, a site acquisition specialist can assist carriers and municipalities by conducting a preliminary analysis of the local zoning ordinance to identify concealment requirements. Carriers who are proactive about approaching a site with a detailed concealment option will inspire goodwill among the stakeholders as well as expedite the permitting process. Aside from finding the right spot for radio frequency, negotiating municipal approval can be time consuming and costly for a carrier. Experienced and knowledgeable site acquisition specialists are adept at obtaining the proper permits for installation.
At CW Solutions our knowledge of Municipal Land Use Laws and working relationships with local municipalities, has allowed us to successfully streamline the approval processes so that our clients can deploy projects quickly, while keeping up with the increasing demand of users.
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