The tower would have been the first such structure on RA land, though there have been requests to do so before. One of those requests was dropped by the carrier; the other was also denied by the DRB.
Reston-based Milestone Communications and AT&T sought to install a monopole in the wooded area behind the soccer field at the park off of Reston Parkway. The equipment would be located in a fenced-in area of the park and would include cables and other support structures.
The DRB concurred with several community members that spoke of their concerns with the environment, property values and damage to trees, among others, at Tuesday’s meeting.
Milestone has teamed with local entities many times over the last several years. There are several hundred existing cell phone poles on Fairfax County Public Schools land, including at South Lakes High School, Herndon Middle School, Madison High School and Carson Middle School, to name a few.
The cell phone tower would have been a moneymaker for Reston Association. The cell phone companies pay the landowners to lease the pole space. FCPS, for instance, has made more than $4 million from the arrangement over the last six years, FCPS officials said.
Milestone collects rent from the wireless carriers on its towers, 40 percent of which goes to FCPS. Schools receive $25,000 each time a tower is built, and then $5,000 from each wireless carrier that leases space on the tower.
Milestone says schools and parks are ideal locations for these towers because they often have existing structures, such as field light poles, in place. Many Milestone towers are disguised as trees, so lots of times they go unnoticed.
FCPS has done studies on cell phones being located on school grounds and has determined the practice is safe.
File photo of proposed cell phone pole/Credit: Milestone