Proposed cell tower in Muncie neighborhood stirs controversy

MUNCIE, Ind.-- Plans for a cell tower across the street from a Muncie neighborhood are stirring up controversy. Residents living nearby say they fear the tower’s presence could hurt property values over the long run.

Crown Castle, a Houston-based wireless infrastructure company, proposed building a 139 ft. cell tower in the 3600 block of West Jackson St. in Muncie on what’s currently a vacant lot. But just across West Jackson, opposition to the proposal is growing.

“It will be an eye sore for our little neighborhood here,” said Spencer Witt, a Muncie resident, “we’d much rather want a nice new home and family over here than a cell phone tower that will be rusty in three or four years.”

The plans, submitted to the Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals, detail a Verizon Wireless antenna, plus space for three additional antennas in the future. But the site has some restrictions.

The proposed tower would be 185 feet away from the closest resident. Too close, according to local zoning ordinances, which require wireless towers to be no closer than 200 feet in any direction. Crown Castle is requesting a zoning variance so they can build the structure, since railroad tracks limit how far back onto the West Jackson property they can build.

Some neighbors say they’re unhappy with the proposal and plan on voicing their opinions.

“That’s some of the main concerns in the neighborhood here, is what will it do to our property values in the future,” Witt says his neighborhood plans on holding its own town hall meeting in the coming days to “put a halt” to the tower.

There will be a public hearing on October 27 on the third floor of the Delaware County Building in the Commissioners Court Room in Muncie to discuss the variances and listen to public input.

CBS4 reached out to Crown Castle who said this proposed tower would help resolve a gap in coverage in the Muncie area which experiences a high volume of data use.

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