Golf club might agree to cell tower

Published April 6, 2007

Will the third time be the charm in the quest for better cell phone reception in Westchase?

The Westchase Golf Club is considering building a cell tower in one of two locations on the course.

Representatives from the golf course and Steel in the Air, a cell tower leasing consultant, will outline the proposal at the Westchase Voting Members meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center, 10405 Countryway Blvd.

There is a reception hole about a mile wide in Westchase. Some have said it's hard to get a signal in places like the Publix on Linebaugh Avenue, the pool area on Countryway and even in their own homes.

Sprint led the charge to bring reception to the area, looking first to construct a tower on land that turned out to be an off-limits county conservation area.

Next, the company pursued latching onto a TECO electric tower, but TECO turned down the deal based on safety and reliability reasons.

Now, a tower on Westchase's privately owned golf course could house as many as five cell phone providers.

Similar towers in Tampa bring in up to $1,500 in revenue per month, said Steel in the Air president Ken Schmidt. The golf course hired Steel in the Air to explore the issue.

Golf course owners don't want to commit to a tower without hearing feedback from the community.

Course representatives turned out at last month's Westchase Government Affairs Committee meeting, which was sparsely attended.

They're hoping to get more community feedback at Tuesday's meeting.

Here are the vitals about the proposed tower.

- One proposed location is in the northeast section of the course near the ninth hole.

- Another is off the driving range between the clubhouse and the second hole.

- The tower would be 150 feet tall, designed like a flagpole. It may or may not have an actual flag attached.

- The tower would likely be visible to surrounding homes, including those in Saville Rowe, the Greens, and the Estates of Harbor Links.

- Schmidt said the tower would take 30 to 45 days to construct but would not hinder golfers.

Any work involving a crane would be done late in the afternoon.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at shayes@sptimes.com or 813 269-5303.