Lenexa council approves 20-year renewal for Sprint-operated cell tower on Lackman

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By Jerry LaMartina

The Lenexa City Council has approved a 20-year renewal of a special-use permit for Sprint Corp. to continue operating a 150-foot wireless tower at 11030 Lackman Road in a planned business park zoning district.

According to a Dec. 19 memo to the council from Lenexa Community Development Director Beccy Yocham and Planning and Development Administrator Magi Tilton, the council first granted a 10-year special-use permit for the tower’s operation in 1997 and renewed it for another 10 years in 2007, contingent on property maintenance, cable rerouting and landscaping improvements.

A subsidiary of Crown Castle International Corp. owns the tower. City spokeswoman Denise Rendina, citing the city’s legal department, said the city didn’t know whether any other wireless carrier was using the tower in addition to Sprint. The use of a wireless tower by more than one wireless provider is called colocation, and the tower was designed for colocation. Calls to Crown Castle weren’t returned.

The tower and its compound have access from Lackman Road, are about 100 feet from it and are surrounded by an 8-foot-tall cedar fence with brick masonry columns, and by evergreen and deciduous trees. City staff inspected the site and required cleanup of dead vegetation around the compound’s perimeter and minor fence repairs.

City staff were unaware of any complaints about or negative effects of the compound, and they recommended approval of the permit renewal, contingent on fence and landscaping maintenance, including trimming and cleaning of dead or dying vegetation as needed.

The Lenexa Planning Commission held a public hearing about the permit-renewal application; no member of the public spoke at it. The commission expressed no concerns about the renewal other than a question about a future change in access to the site, based on the eventual development of adjacent property.

The commission recommended that access to the compound should be from College Boulevard at the new development instead of having multiple access points close together along Lackman Road and near the railroad crossing to the north. The commission unanimously recommended approval of the permit renewal, with the stipulations recommended by city staff.

The council approved the permit renewal at its Dec. 19 meeting.