HOAs fighting placement of cell tower at Cy-Fair ISD school

March 8, 2013 5:37:15 PM PST
Some folks in one northwest Harris County neighborhood are worried that a new cell phone tower put on the property of an elementary school in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD will hurt their home values.

Residents say the tower was put up at Lowery Elementary School in Copperfield without their approval.

The homeowners in northwest Harris County say this is about doing the right thing, after a new trend started a few years ago of putting cell phone towers on school campuses.

During school days at Cy-Fair ISD's Lowery Elementary in Copperfield, kids playing at recess are just yards away from the cell phone tower constructed on campus.

"This tower sits about 25 feet away from a portable classroom, where kids are spending their days there. And it's also about 75 feet from the back of somebody's house," Copperfield Coalition President Anthony Cecala said.

Nearby homeowners aren't sure it's going to help property values in the middle of a master-planned community.

"Because it's an eyesore. It does affect it. Go ask some Realtors and see whether or not this enhances the property values and makes it more attractive to buyers or not. It doesn't," Copperfield Coalition Vice President Joe Perino said.

Area HOAs have met with Cy-Fair ISD officials to get it relocated or camouflaged into an artificial tree which independent companies are doing. But they've had no luck with that so far.

It turns out cell towers in campus is a new trend.

Cy-Fair ISD has allowed several companies to install cell phone towers on their campuses, including Shirley Kirk Elementary in The Lakes On Eldridge.

It's a way for Cypress-Fairbanks to make extra cash.

The tower on the campus of Lowery Elementary brought in more than $27,000 last year. In all, Cy-Fair-isd made more than $245,000 on all their campus cell towers last year.

But when the district was asked by Copperfield HOAs to spend some money to camouflage them into artificial trees, they didn't get the answer they'd hoped for.

"They came back to us with it's too expensive to relocate and it's too expensive to camouflage," Cecala said.

Cy-Fair declined a camera interview, but says the district has a total of eight cell phone towers on campuses and the revenue generated helps during a time of budget cuts.

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