City of Avon Lake, Lorain County, Ohio Wireless Assistance

When a cell tower company filed an application to construct a new 150-foot tower in the Cleveland suburb of Avon Lake, the Planning Commission approved the application, but City Council and residents had concerns. The proposed tower was to be located near housing dedicated for the physically handicapped and newly constructed, high-priced single-family homes. Residents and members of City Council, concerned about aesthetics and negative impacts on property values, questioned the need for a new cell tower in the location and at the height proposed. Council appealed to McKenna for expert assistance.

McKenna planners, together with the Center for Municipal Solutions (CMS), analyzed the City’s existing Zoning Code and application materials to determine the true necessity for the proposed tower. McKenna also conducted a site visit to identify the location and feasibility of alternative tower sites and a detailed scientific evaluation of cell phone signal coverage from other proposed and existing towers. McKenna/CMS asked the applicant to provide supplemental information justifying need for the proposed tower, including signal coverage area at various tower heights and signal strengths. The applicant was not able to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate a need for a 150-foot tower in the proposed location. As a result, City Council voted to deny approval of the proposed application and the tower was not constructed.

With guidance from McKenna/CMS, City officials gained knowledge of wireless technology and the industry and were able to confidently and capably protect the needs of their citizens and the character of their community.