A part of southwestern Westlake that has long been plagued by poor cell phone service has been presented with a solution.
Residents aren't yet sure about it, however.
They expressed hopes and concerns at a meeting at City Hall last week organized by Ward 4 City Councilman Michael O'Donnell. About two dozen people attended.
Verizon has entered into an agreement with Prince of Peace Lutheran Church to lease a small piece of land in the western end of the church's property to build a 100-foot-high cell phone tower.
Bob Grant, an attorney for Verizon, said that the company has been trying to find a solution for the dead zone in that part of town for six years.
"As much as we'd love to avoid having a tower near a residential area, it's also where the highest concentration of use is, and where the service needs to reach," he said.
Other possibilities were considered, Grant said. A tall enough tower could not be built at the Post Office. Westlake Porter Library was not interested in having a tower built there, Grant said.
Parks and commercial properties were also looked at, but either could not hold a tall enough tower or were too far away to reach all of the affected area, Grant said.
Residents were worried about the closeness of the tower to neighboring homes. The nearest residential building is 297 feet away.
Other concerns expressed were radiation exposure and quality of service.
One resident asked about whether the church would have to pay taxes on the income from the lease. Grant declined to say how much Verizon would pay Prince of Peace to lease the land, saying it was confidential.
The proposal for the tower has been submitted to the city. By the time it's vetted by the Planning Commission and City Council, if it gains approval, the soonest work could begin is sometime in early 2013, with the tower becoming operational in the late spring or early summer.
Law director John Wheeler reminded residents there would be more opportunities to ask questions as the process goes on.