Residents of the neighborhood around Parklawn Recreation Association in Mason District looked skyward early Saturday morning as a large red helium balloon marked the approximate height and location of a proposed cell tower.
AT&T is proposing to build a 183-foot monopole cell phone tower. The “monopole” would be a cell phone tower designed like a tree with a three-foot tree canopy on top. A large chain-link fence would surround the area.
Wind conditions and terrain prevented AT&T from placing the balloon exactly where the tower would be located—the wind pushed the balloon slight northwest of its actual location. (See the map in the media box at right.)
As cars drive down the hill to Parklawn pool, the cell tower itself would be just after the first curve in the driveway on the right side. Related equipment for the tower would be on the left side of the driveway. AT&T would remove some invasive brush and vines on the left side of the driveway to make room for equipment.
It will be at least a year before the tower can be built and operational—there are still public hearings, Fairfax County permits and more to get through first.
According to the Feb. 28 meeting agenda for the Fairfax County Planning Commission, the public hearing for the cell tower was pushed back to April 25.
At a Mason District town hall meeting last month, a Parklawn resident complained to Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross that AT&T was not providing the community with information regarding plans for the cell phone tower.
Some area residents said they are concerned about their property values declining, and some mentioned they are considering moving. The Parklawn Recreation Association is in the 6000 block of Crater Place, southeast of Fairfax County Public School's Glasgow Middle School, south of Lillian Carey Park.
In late 2012, the Parklawn Civic Association conducted a survey of residents about the tower. According to the results, 69 percent of surveyed residents in the Parklawn subdivision do not support the placement of a cell tower on PRA land.
“When including the responses of residents of Lincolnia Heights, Barcroft Terrace and Barcroft Forest (subdivisions eligible for PCA membership) with the Parklawn subdivision responses, 61.2 percent of the residents of all these areas are opposed to the tower,” according to the Parklawn Civic Association’s survey results. Residents in the Lincolnia Heights/Heywood Glen neighborhoods seem to support the tower.
The Parklawn Civic Association has decided to not take an official position on the cell phone tower, according to Parklawn Civic Association President Mollie Loeffler.
For more on the cell tower: