In Crop-Dusting Country, a Visible Tower Meets With Approval

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Unlike designs that hide cell towers behind pine tree branches or church steeples, the proposed Nextlink tower in Great Bend, KS will feature orange and white stripes, reports the Great Bend Tribune. The internet-only tower met with the unanimous approval of the Barton County Planning Commission on Monday. The orange stripes were added, and approved by Nextlink, when crop duster pilots requested them for safety reasons at a public hearing. 

“We felt this was the best route to go,” said Environmental Manager Judy Goreham. “This is a very good visual addition for the pilots.”  

The design of the tower will be a 120-foot monopole, anchored in concrete with no need for guy wires. The location on private property has both woods and fields. The concern from the ag pilots was that the tower’s silver paint would present a possible hazard to unsuspecting aviators. While the lower portion will remain silver, the top 40 feet will be banded with orange and white aviation paint as a visual warning. The tower is below the 200 foot threshold and will not include lights. 

“I am proud of this committee for being forward thinking and proactive,” said District 5 Commissioner Jennifer Schartz. Commissioner Don Cates perished in a crop dusting accident a few years ago, lending particular gravitas to the Planning Commission’s decision. Plans for the design of future cell towers in the region will be evaluated on a case by case basis.  

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