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story.lead_photo.caption A map showing the location for a proposed cell tower

FAYETTEVILLE — A proposed cell tower near the Cincinnati community would improve communication along Arkansas 59, which would be “gold” to emergency service providers, county officials say.

Washington County’s Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustments this evening will consider a permit for the cell tower at 24088 W. Cincinnati Road.

The area has spotty communication service, said Dennis Ledbetter, fire marshal, during a technical review of the project last month. He has said emergency workers often are without radio or phone service near where the tower is proposed.

The 250-foot tall telecommunications tower would take up about 0.2 acres and accommodate four cellular providers, including Verizon, county records show. The tower would “fill a coverage hole” along the state highway.

It would be built in a field about 979 feet from the road. No buildings are nearby.

“The Washington County emergency responders have stated that the area around Cincinnati has very poor cellular reception,” according to planning staff comments in online documents. “This affects their ability to provide exceptional emergency services to the citizens of the area.”

The tower, near Summers and Cincinnati, would be fantastic, but the county needs another one near Evansville, said Justice of the Peace Joel Maxwell, a Republican who represents western Washington County. Evansville also has areas of poor service, he said. The proposed tower is in Maxwell’s district.

John Luther, Washington County Emergency Management director, said there are areas in the county where cellular service is unreliable. Any additional tower that gives people better access to 911 is welcomed, he said.

Most people no longer use land-line phones, so the new cell tower would give people using cell phones the ability to call from an accident instead of driving until they have a signal, said Sita Nanthavong, a county planner. It should improve safety and emergency response times, she said.

B+T Group in Little Rock, a company managing the project, didn’t return a message left Monday.

No neighbors had submitted comments — for or against — the tower as of Tuesday.

Scarlet Sims can be reached by email at ssims@nwadg.com or on Twitter @NWAScarlets.

Web watch

To see the full agenda for the Washington County Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustments, visit www.co.washington.ar.us/home/showdocument?id=15853. The board meets at 5 p.m. today in the Quorum Court Room at the courthouse.

Source: Washington County

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