At its regular meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 22, the Tulare County Planning Commission approved a special-use permit to allow a telecommunications pole to be installed in Three Rivers by Verizon Wireless.
The 75-foot wireless telecommunications pole will include 12 antennas, one microwave dish, and support equipment on a 1,600-square-foot piece of land located near the intersection of Highway 198 and South Fork Drive on top of the knoll on the southeast side of the roads. The land is owned by Larry and Kathy Britten of Visalia.
The proposed facility will remedy a significant gap in service to the community of Three Rivers and the surrounding area. It will provide local residents with another cellular service provider as previously AT&T had the only service towers in the Three Rivers area. Currently, visitors to the area who have cell phone providers other than AT&T do not have service in Three Rivers.
A condition of approval by the Planning Commission board was that the tower have aesthetics added. Verizon’s agent agreed to the stipulation so the permanent pole will be camouflaged as a pine tree. The addition of the pine tree to the tower will add about 10 percent to the height of the tower, making the pine tree tower 82.5 feet tall.
It will be the first camouflaged tower to be placed in an unincorporated area of Tulare County.
Construction of the facility is estimated to take two months. Until that time, Verizon will operate a temporary wireless site, and local customers should expect service within the next few days.