Community towers irk some Plano residents




Posted on May 18, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 19 at 9:57 AM

Hills at Prestonwood

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PLANO — Some Plano residents are outraged over new utility poles being installed in their neighborhood.

The city says the 30-foot towers contain communications gear designed to speed help in case of an emergency.

But Narenda Attri says the fixtures are "ugly," and if he gets his way, Plano will never install the towers in the Hills at Prestonwood subdivision where he lives along with 725 other homeowners.

Nestled between golf courses and creeks, the subdivision is wire-free — all power and phone lines are buried underground. The only poles in the neighborhood are 18-foot-tall street lights topped with classic globes.

"We don't like unsightly things," Attri said. "This is a golf course community."

David Stephens, Plano's director of technology, says the 30-foot towers, outfitted with wireless transmitters on top, are standard in size and aren't much larger than others in Plano.

Stephens says the height is needed to relay data to fire, police and other safety agencies.

Without the towers, Stephens says Plano's public safety system is compromised, although — he admits — his office did a poor job of notifying homeowners.

"We thought we had communicated with the HOA association and there was no communication there," he said, "so it was an oversight."

Despite the fight, three of the new towers will be installed in the Hills at Prestonwood subdivision.