In addition to expanding data options, virtually all wireless providers offer unlimited plans of one type or another. This requires that they add capacity to their wireless networks, which can be solved in a number of ways – the most obvious of which is to increase the density and number of cell sites in areas where capacity is needed.
Historically, the wireless industry has built communication towers in commercial and industrial areas, avoiding residential communities that tend to voice “NIMBY” (“Not In My Back Yard”) opposition. NIMBY is a nice way of referring to the mindset of those users who demand more consistent and reliable wireless service, but don’t want to be anywhere near the wireless infrastructure necessary to provide it.
“Municipal governments have strict zoning regulations for the construction of cell towers, often stating that large parcels of land must be used.”
Now that wireless carriers need increased capacity and better indoor coverage to meet growing consumer demand, they are starting to focus more closely on residential areas. Carriers are now building sites between their existing sites – a process commonly called “infill.”
Wireless carriers are faced with a significant challenge; many zoning ordinances have outright prohibitions against wireless towers in residential areas or require that large parcels be allocated to accommodate the “fall zone” of a communication tower. This has triggered many carriers to find innovative solutions to meeting consumer demand in residential areas. In some cases, they deploy stealth towers and other camouflage technologies to better “hide” towers. Other times, they deploy DAS networks and/or small cell technologies.
In our years of experience, both as site acquisition agents for the wireless carriers and as consultants for hundreds of churches and municipalities, these larger parcels are often churches or schools. Because of their unique locations and larger parcel size, churches and school properties are often excellent locations for cell towers. Unfortunately, because of the aforementioned NIMBY effect, they are often contentious ones as well.
Ironically, wireless carriers prefer not to have school district cell towers because of many parents’ fears about potential health risks of cell towers. It is difficult to predict whether a proposed school district cell tower will upset local residents and parents and as a result, wireless carriers will often look to other properties before they consider building a school district tower.
“We can determine why the carrier or tower company is interested in your property and how you can use that knowledge to negotiate a better lease rate.”
Contact us today to discuss your school district’s cell tower situation. Our initial discussion is always free. While we can’t tell you how much you should be charging for your leases, we can indicate if we believe there is room for improvement. Additionally, we can provide an estimate for our services and references from other school districts and universities who’ve benefited from our valuable services.