Westlake Town Council hosted a town hall meeting Jan. 17 on a proposed cellphone tower at the corner of West Dove Road and Davis Boulevard.

If passed in its current form, the tower would stand adjacent to Westlake Fire Station No. 1.

According to previous Community Impact reporting, there are no cell towers in Westlake. Reception depends upon equipment placed on cell and water towers in neighboring communities. The impetus behind the construction of the town’s first cell tower came after the Town Council received feedback from residents and the business community about poor cellular reception in certain parts of town.

The town entered into a contract with Vertical Bridge in January 2022 to design the tower. Beyond providing cellular service, equipment would also be placed on the tower to provide other communication services, including Wi-Fi, emergency communication services, and supervisory control and data acquisition services.

As part of the contract, Vertical Bridge will pay the town $12,000 per year for the first two carriers and an additional $300 per month for each additional carrier. They would also be responsible for all repairs and maintenance, according to town documents.

“We’ve been looking at this location for several years now,” said Raul Ramos, an audio design engineer with Verizon’s wireless team. “The town of Westlake has been growing considerably. Now we have the new Entrada development, and we want to improve service and capacity.”

To make it high enough to support robust communication and to allow enough room for carriers to house their equipment, staff initially recommended the height of the tower be 100 feet. After signal testing and diagnostics were completed, the recommended height changed to 150 feet, according to previous Community Impact reporting. Several residents commented during the meeting that at that height, it would be an eyesore in the community and therefore reduce property values.

The complaints were not lost on Mayor Sean Kilbride. He pointed out the reason for the town hall was to discuss the many barriers that the town must overcome, including topography and building materials that are used in home construction to provide the kind of cell service that residents and businesses need to support their daily lives.

“Obviously, many of the residents in the northern portion of Vaquero are concerned about home values,” Kilbride said. “Other people have been pointing out to me that all the things that block cellphone signals into the home are pretty much in our building code. You build a new tower; outside you'll still have reception, but maybe inside you're not going to change [the signal] much.”

The tower is still in the design phase and would need the Westlake Planning and Zoning Commission's approval. It is slated to go before the commission Feb. 13. If approved, it would discussed during council meeting Feb. 27.