Hey, it's a tree carefully pruned to look like a cell phone tower! Or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, the Reston Association is considering a proposal to stick one of these bad boys at the Lake Newport Pool complex. Apparently all those cellular iPhone email machines the kidz are "web logging" with these days have created huge demand for more cell phone towers and whatnot.
The proposed Lake Newport tower would be one of the “stealth tree” models, which are constructed to look like part of the surrounding foliage.The RA board harrumphed for a while, then board member Richard Chew posed a Zen riddle.
Lawrence Loring, a site acquisition specialist with Compass Technology Services, summarized the need for the tower to the Board of Directors, as well as the process for placing the tower.
STEALTH TOWERS are usually placed in the middle of a wooded area, and they are placed in a secure area, separated by an 8-foot high board-on-board fence. All power lines are placed underground, and unless one is standing within a few feet of the tower, there is no sound, Loring said.
He also addressed several of the common issues that tend to arise within the community before construction.
“If it weren’t crucial to T-Mobile, they wouldn’t do it, the objective is to first find an existing structure,” Loring said. “They’re safe facilities, there’s no scientific evidence anywhere to suggest any sort of negative health impacts. There’s the argument of lower property values, there’s no evidence to support that either.”
“At some point, these towers are going to have to be in Reston someplace, we might as well have our input in how they come into Reston,” said Milton W. Matthews, chief executive officer of the Board of Directors.
“I’ve seen a number of these stealth tree poles, and they’re terrible,” said Richard Chew, an at-large director on the board, but admitted, “I may have not seen a few others that were fine.”If an ugly cellphone tower falls in the forest and no one sees it, does it make a sound? (Answer: not if it belongs to T-Mobile, which has, what, five customers these days?)
If the RA goes ahead with covering the pool with a giant plexiglass dome, couldn't they just stick the antenna on top of that? That way, it could double as a lightning rod.
Anyhoo, the RA board kicked the can over to the DRB, which will require the tree to be painted "burnt orange" to fit in with the surroundings, the end.