The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend the Town Council approve a special use permit for a cell tower to be installed on Colony Drive.

The 72-foot faux palm tree is to be constructed inside the Fountain Hills Mini-Storage facility. The tower would be built by Coal Creek Consulting for T-Mobile.

The site where the tower would stand is within 300 feet of residential property, which requires the special use permit. There is a condominium complex to the east of the storage yard.

Staff is requiring that three real palm trees be planted near the palm cell tower.

There is a similar palm tower located off Saguaro Boulevard to the rear of a business plaza between Panorama and Tower drives. That palm is just slightly shorter than the one planned for this site.

Senior Planner Bob Rodgers also noted there is a cell site on a light pole at Desert Vista Park that is 85 feet in height. That is located just off Saguaro and Desert Vista.

Commission members discussed the potential for damage in the event the tower failed during a storm. It was concluded that the tower would fall on the property of the mini-storage or within an adjoining alley, limiting collateral damage.

Declan Murphy with Coal Creek Consulting told the commission that the design standard for the tower foundation is a higher threshold than required. He also said he knows of no such tower failure while he has been in the business.

The pole is designed to withstand a 92 mile per hour wind gust sustained for 30 seconds.

Commission Chairman Lloyd Pew said ideally there would be minimal property damage in the event of a fall down, and he noted in this case all of the risk lies within the property.

Jim Klungness, the owner of the property, was present at the meeting and asked for commission approval.