10 December 2014

Findings for Verizon Cellular Tower at Hyannis Golf Course

Verizon Wireless has issued their findings to the Federal Communications Commission for the cellular communications tower to be placed at the Pelican Beach Golf Course east of Hyannis. The tower is designed to provide service to the village and its local airport.

This is a summary of the details associated with this tower — located along Highway 2 — as submitted via email by the applicant to the Federal Communications Commission (ASR Application No. A0916392) in mid-December:

* The 358-foot (109 meters) height tower will be a self-supported lattice structure that will not include any guy wires.

* A previous application to the FCC by Verizon was cancelled (August 26, 2014) due to a revision in the placement of the tower to the golf course site where access and utilities are available. An alternative site further north was rejected since the resident did not want a cellular tower on their property.

* Verizon has received permission from the FAA (Study Number: 2014-ACE-3331-OE) to utilize "avian-friendly" lighting system of “dual, medium intensity lighting without the use of the steady-burning side lights.” Also, any lights associated with “on-ground facilities should be down-shielded and/or motion-sensored to limit such lighting to within the tower compound.”

* A mid-November letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in consultation on this tower, indicated “it appears unlikely that the proposed telecommunications tower would result in adverse effects to federally protected, threatened or endangered species, or to any critical habitat designated for such species.” An additional recommendation was that there be no “removal or impacts to vegetation during the extended nesting season.” If work is necessary, a qualified biologist should conduct an “avian pre-construction risk assessment of the affected habitats to determine the absence or presence of breeding birds and their nests." A qualified biologist will be engaged "if construction cannot be scheduled outside of the specified dates, to complete an avian pre-construction risk assessment and ensure breeding birds and/or nests are not present prior to construction,” according to the FWS. letter, submitted by Eliza Hines, acting supervisor of the Nebraska Field Office. The agency also requested receiving a written report if a bird survey is done.

* In early November, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) concurred with a finding of “not likely to impact” any state-owned property, including Avocet WMA, nor “likely to have any adverse impacts on state-listed threatened or endangered species.”

The NGPC letter also indicated: “We have grown increasingly concerned about the recent increase in tower construction across Nebraska and impacts that this might have on populations of migratory birds,” wrote Carey Greel, an environmental analyst with the state agency. “Aerial photos of the site show the tower would be located in close proximity to an area dense with Sandhill wetland landscape features. These wetlands provide migratory and nesting habitat for numerous migratory bird species, and we have records of trumpeter swan and long-billed curlew, both Tier 1 species identified in our Nebraska Natural Legacy Plan, using wetland and grassland habitats in the area. Tier 1 species are those that are globally or nationally most at-risk, and which occur in Nebraska.”

The other tower at Hyannis (just west of Highway 61) and at Whitman (northward of Doc Lake), have not yet been submitted to the FCC for review as of early December, according to spokesperson for the federal agency. Of the three cellular towers proposed for Hyannis and Whitman, only the golf-course tower has undergone a complete pre-construction review.

Each of the three towers have, however, already undergone an environmental review by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, with similar findings for each tower structure.

An attempt to determine further information on this tower was not successful in December. The request to the Federal Communications commission was limited. Results of the terse inquiry were:

Regarding the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway and how there will be mitigation on the impact of a new structure along Highway 2:

Requester for the first time suggested that the tower may impact the viewscape along the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway. This e-mail was neither addressed to the FCC nor styled as a reply comment. Moreover, even if we were to treat it as a reply comment, new issues ordinarily may not be raised on reply and Requester has shown no reason why he could not have raised this assertion earlier. In addition, Requester has made no effort to explain how the proposed tower may adversely affect the Scenic Byway.

No information was provided either on the features of the tower, the expected date of construction, nor anything about how the tower will be built.

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