AT&T gives up on AF church site for disputed cell tower - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

AT&T gives up on AF church site for disputed cell tower

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Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2011 11:00 am

AT&T has called off plans for a controversial new cell phone tower at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Ahwatukee Foothills after it emerged this week that deed restrictions barred such installations there.

"We're not going to pursue that location," said AT&T spokesman Gibson McKay. "We are looking elsewhere."

In the face of neighborhood opposition, the telephone company had offered to scale down its original proposal to build a 65-foot-tall cell phone array disguised as a church bell tower topped by a cross alongside 36th Street north of Knox Road on land owned by the church. Instead, the company floated a plan to build a 45-foot-tall tower in the guise of a saguaro cactus.

Neighbors in the upscale area around the site have said the original design would have blotted out a large portion of their South Mountain views, affecting local property values. Some neighbors were skeptical of the proposed saguaro design, as well.

McKay said the tower was meant to bring better cell coverage to the area.

Michael Savage, the church's parish manager, said he could not disclose the potential revenue the church planned to receive in the deal, but the money would have gone to maintenance and social programs.

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