29 cell towers on Mercer Island

Last Wednesday the Design Commission granted final design approval of Verizon Wireless’ proposal for a new Wireless Communications Facility (WCF) at Island Crest Park.

The WCF will replace an existing 79-foot-7-inch wooden ball field light pole with a 110-foot metal pole, complete with mounted wireless antennae. All other wireless equipment will be stored underground, according to city documents.

There are about 29 WCFs on the Island, said City Planner Travis Saunders, although not all are mounted on poles. Some are located on rooftops. According to city permit records, the first Mercer Island cell phone tower was constructed in 1994.

Parks Operations Superintendent Keith Kerner said there’s no cost to the city for the new Verizon tower, other than staff time spent on the review process.

Although past WCF projects created uproar among Islanders, the city received little feedback on Verizon Wireless’ proposal.

Despite mailing several notices to each home within 300 feet of the park — totaling 124 properties — the city only received three comment letters, Saunders said. And no one commented at last week’s open record hearing.

Travis Saunders said he is unsure when construction will begin because Verizon has yet to apply for a building permit from the city.

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