Sprint cell tower in Shawnee getting 5-foot extension to make room for more antennas

Located at 12902 Shawnee Mission Parkway, the Sprint monopole built in 1996 will be increased in height by 5 feet to accommodate additional antennas.

An 80-foot Sprint cell tower along Shawnee Mission Parkway is getting an extension so it can host more antennas.

Located at 12902 Shawnee Mission Parkway, the Sprint monopole was built in 1996 and will have a 5 feet in height added to accommodate new antennas.

The Shawnee planning commission considered the plans in its Monday meeting, which was predominantly conducted via teleconference.

Staff recommended approval of the extension, citing city policy that encourages co-location of multiple antennas instead of building new cell towers in the city.

The applicant, Megan Flower of Crown Castle USA Inc., was absent at the meeting, which concerned some of the planning commissioners. Typically for special use permits, the applicant is present at meetings so they can answer questions and state whether they agree with the city staff’s recommendations.

Kathy Peterson and her fellow commissioners wanted to ensure the applicant had the opportunity to provide comment and address their questions.

“This was put on our agenda on multiple occasions and pulled off,” Peterson added. “I know that you instructed them that they didn’t necessarily need to be here — and (this is an) exceptional situation that we’re under for right now.”

Mark Zielsdorf, planning staff member, said this was tabled because the city requested additional information for the cell tower.

Chairman Dennis Busby said that if there were any concerns with the process, then the item would automatically come back to the planning commission for consideration.

Commissioner Randy Braley asked about the design mechanisms for a monopole, and what city policy states on the fall zone for the proposed 85-foot cell tower. Zielsdsorf said city policy only requires two-thirds distance of the overall height for the fall zone. However, the monopole was designed to collapse instead of falling straight over at the base, Zielsdorf added.

The planning commission unanimously voted to approve a four-year special use permit allowing the monopole extension. There was no public comment.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct an error. All planning commissioners were present for the discussion and vote.