We have heard a lot of complaints about where residents of communities believe cell towers shouldn’t be placed due to health or aesthetic reasons, but what makes a specific piece of property more desirable than one a couple hundred feet away?
“The first requirement for a property is that it must be inside what is commonly known as a “search ring”. A search ring is an area designated by a cell phone carrier that shows where they need to place a cell tower. The size and shape of a search ring varies depending upon many factors, including the topography of the area, the population density of the area, as well as any federal, state or local restrictions that surround the particular search area,” Vertical Consultants explains.
Before this even begins, the companies must take into account is whether or not there is a need in the area for a cell tower. When trying to determine the right property for a cell tower in a specific area the site acquisition specialist takes GPS coordinate readings of the property to confirm at the Radio Frequency Engineering department if the site works or not.
Vertical Consultants compounded a list of characteristics a cell phone carrier or cell tower company will be looking for in a new potential cell tower site:
- Adequately Available Vacant Land: A potential cell tower site must meet certain size requirements. A cell phone carrier or tower company is usually looking to get as much space as possible, due to the desire to add subtenants to the site. These companies normally look for a site that is going to have at least 1,000 square feet available and will sometimes want up to 10,000 square feet
- Construction Expenses: When a cell phone carrier or cell tower company looks to choose a site for the placement of a cell tower, it must weigh the cost of construction based on the characteristics of an available property
- Access to the Tower: Cell phone carriers and tower companies are always concerned about access to a cell tower, so a parcel that has easy access to a public road is preferable.
- Zoning & Permitting: One of the most important factors in determining if a property is really suitable for the construction of a cell tower is if the site will be approved by local municipalities zoning/permitting board. A correctly zoned property and a location being located in a cell tower friendly city or county can save a cell phone carrier time and money.
- Topography: As mentioned previously, you could potentially own a property that is the highest point in the city, county, or even state, but if that property is not in a search ring, it will not be selected, as location means more than elevation.