On Monday, the Germantown (TN) Board of Education reviewed a third proposal from Tower Ventures to place a cell tower near Dogwood Elementary School, reported the Daily Memphian. Per Michael Fahy, president of Prime Development Group, the tower’s proposed placement is now 180-feet from the school.
Tower Ventures has proposed multiple tower plans since the fall of 2018.
The first was a 140-foot tower slated for placement 148 feet from the main school building and 236 feet from playground equipment. In May 2019, the Germantown Board of Education voted on an amended cell tower location farther from the school building, placing the tower 253 feet from the school, 364 feet from the new playground, and 248 feet from area residents. This proposal was withdrawn, however, prior to review by the city’s Planning Commission.
The Memphian reported the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation showed a grant was in place that blocked the amended location. According to a Limitation of Use agreement as part of the grant, the property can only be used for public outdoor recreation purposes unless the Secretary of Interior considers it necessary. But the deal says the secretary can only deem a use as essential if it’s following state wide recreation plans for outdoors, disqualifying the cell tower.
Additionally, the proposed tower location has mixed resident reviews. Some are concerned about potential health hazards, while others are pulling for better connectivity, especially as it concerns safety and contacting emergency services. Amy Sowell, a teacher who lives near Dogwood Elementary, said she was concerned that the Dogwood staff might not be able to get in touch with emergency responders during a crisis.