On Wednesday, AT&T — facing opposition to its goal to install a cell tower near a residential area — received a nod from Shawnee Planning Commissioners after making some changes to its original plan. The site in question is just south of West 45th Street behind Northside Veterinary Hospital, which sits on the north section of the property.

On Wednesday, AT&T — facing opposition to its goal to install a cell tower near a residential area — received a nod from Shawnee Planning Commissioners after making some changes to its original plan. The site in question is just south of West 45th Street behind Northside Veterinary Hospital, which sits on the north section of the property.

In its second run-through — and with some revisions — the conditional use permit request from AT&T has achieved a recommendation from the planning board. Last month commissioners denied recommendation of the item, flanked by several area residents who are against the proposal.

Multiple residents voiced opposition to the thought of allowing AT&T to place a cell tower in their neighborhood. Health, safety and aesthetics were cited among concerns, as well as the fear of declining property values.

On Wednesday, during round two, Shawnee Planning Director Rebecca Blaine filled in board members regarding revisions AT&T recently made to meet all the city's zoning requirements.

Due to space restraints, the original tower height of 140 feet was reduced to 120 feet — making the fall radius smaller.

AT&T shifted the placement of the monopole a bit to the northeast, which put the site farthest east from the residential area it could go.

Andy Dyke, a resident near the site, said there didn't seem to be much of a change to the plan, and that risk to health was still a concern for him.

Resident James Nickles said he is adamantly against the cell tower being placed near his neighborhood, citing property value concerns, among others.

To address the issue, Williams brought local Real Estate appraiser Bob Grace, who shared findings of a study he had done years ago in Shawnee regarding home sales near an existing cell tower. Grace said reports showed overall home sales year-over-year were consistent in competitive areas in the community, confirming, in his opinion, that the cell tower did not have an impact — negative or positive — on property values.

While the west side of the property in question butts against a housing addition, the east side lies next to Shawnee Middle School property. A consistent concern was that the fall radius of the cell tower could present a safety issue to students. With the revised plan the fall radius now only extends to the property line, instead of over the property line by 20 or 30 feet.

Consultant Kyle Coulter said AT&T is not looking for special treatment.

“We meet the requirements,” he said.

Since the initial hearing, AT&T submitted a document that disputes claims of adverse health effects from cell sites, a market study authored by Valbridge Property Advisors, which reports impacts on residential property values cell towers have in the Dallas, Texas, metropolitan statistical area, and a map depicting signal strengths in the general vicinity of the proposed site in Shawnee (showing a relevant preference for that specific site), among others.

After an hour and a half of discussion, board members voted 4-2-1 to recommend approval of the conditional-use permit request. Planning Commissioners Link Cowan and Robbie Kienzle voted no; Tom Rowell abstained.

The request now goes before Shawnee City Commissioners April 15.

Watch for updates.