Hearing examiner approves Prune Hill telecommunications tower

Decision comes with a list of conditions

A hearing examiner has approved a conditional use permit application to build a 175-foot wireless telecommunications tower on property located on Prune Hill in Camas.

PI Telecom Infrastructure, LLC, of Jacksonville, Florida, and Freewire of Beaverton, Oregon, applied for a conditional use permit to build a monopole, three panel antennas, seven microwave antennas and ground equipment. The facility will be constructed on a 40- by 40-foot cement pad at 2829 N.W. 18th Ave.

The monopole would support antennas for Freewire and T-Mobile, and later a third carrier.

According to Clark County property records, there is one single-family residence on the five-acre parcel that is owned by Jean M. Nagel. The site is located partially within a wetland buffer.

“The applicants have leased a portion of the parcel for development of the wireless facility,” states a report prepared by city of Camas staff.

Hearing Examiner Joe Turner’s approval, issued Aug. 5, came with a list of nearly two dozen conditions including requiring that equipment cabinets be painted earth tone colors and feature gabled roofs; the site be enclosed by a solid wood fence; and the monopole, antennas and other equipment mounted on the monopole must be painted gray or blue.

In addition, the applicant is limited to the installation of up to 15 panel antennas and 10 microwave antennas, with the combined surface area of all antennas approximately 200 feet; any future modifications to the tower cannot extend it above 175 feet; and a sign up to four square feet will be installed listing the wireless service provider’s name and emergency phone number.

In June, more than a dozen people spoke in opposition of the permit application during a public hearing in front of Turner.

Many of those who testified expressed concerns about a wireless telecommunications tower’s visual impacts, health issues related to exposure to radio frequency waves, and the effects on migratory bird patterns.

Turner said during the hearing that he is required to make his decision based on the city’s laws, which do allow cell phone towers in residential areas within a specific set of criteria. There are certain factors he is not legally allowed to contemplate when making his ruling, including potential health effects and how they relate to property values.

This story will be updated for the Aug. 11 print edition of the Post-Record.