Verizon Considering Cell Phone Tower at Crossfield Elementary

Crossfield Map/Credit: Milestone Communications

A cell phone monopole is back in play for Crossfield Elementary School.

Verizon Wireless is seeking to build a cell phone tower at the Fairfax County Public Schools elementary school at 2791 Fox Mill Rd.

Verizon is working with local firm Milestone Communications to get approval to build the pole and improve cell phone reception in the area. The proposal is for a 138-foot tower disguised to look like a tree.

The request to build the pole comes about 2 1/2 years after a similar proposal fell apart in the application process. T-Mobile and Milestone filed an application in November of 2013 seeking to build at Crossfield. The request was postponed indefinitely.

Meanwhile, there was organized resident opposition to the 2013 proposal, including a petition signed by fewer than 200 people. Residents said there was already a cell phone tower nearby, that the tower would affect home values, and that cell phones should not be allowed on elementary school property because studies showing longterm health effects are inconclusive.

There was also a proposal by AT&T and Milestone for a pole at Hunters Woods Park, a Reston Association property, in June of 2014. The RA Design Review Board nixed the idea of a 115-foot pole in the woods behind a soccer field.

But many poles have been built on to public lands in recent years. South Lakes High School, Herndon Middle School, Madison High School and Carson Middle School are among the many FCPS properties that have cell phone towers on their grounds.

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 several 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.

FCPS says it has has done studies on cell phones being located on school grounds and has determined the practice is safe.

Have some thoughts on a pole for Crossfield? A community meeting has been scheduled for May 19, 7 p.m., at the North County Government Center, Hunter Mill District Office, 1801 Cameron Glen Dr.

Map of proposed cell phone tower location/Credit Milestone Communications

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