Cell tower causes problems in Collierville neighborhood

COLLIERVILLE, TN (WMC-TV) - They are all over the Mid South: cell phone towers disguised as flag poles or trees.  Now, a church that wants to erect such a tower in Collierville is meeting stiff resistance from neighbors there.

Grace Evangelical Church in Collierville recently announced plans to lease a piece of land to an outside company to build the tower, which will stand approximately 150 feet high.

Neighbor Teresa Sigmon is heading up an effort to block the church's plan.

"No one would want this 150-foot negative, non-conforming structure," Sigmon said Monday.

to lease a piece of land to an outside company to build a 150-foot cell phone tower.

Grace Evangelical's Brent Wilkens said the church has tried to be a good neighbor, but trying to convince neighbors has been tough.  The tower, Wilkens said, would bring great financial benefit to the church.

"They'll be leasing space from us, so there will be some monies involved, but again, those monies will just be poured back into everything we do here at Grace," he said.

Wilkens said lease payments from the tower will be used to build, among other things, more community resources like the ball fields and playgrounds.  But neighbors argue the financial benefit would be negated by effects on property values.

"How can anybody say that is not going to adversely impact our property values?" Sigmon asked.

Officials at Grace Evangelical believe it will not, citing the high-tension power lines a cell phone tower already in place before the neighborhood or the church was built.

"We moved into the area knowing that this was here for all of to see," Wilkins said.

Wilkens said not unusual for churches to lease land for cell phone towers, but Sigmon and other neighbors 150 feet is unnecessarily high.

The matter will be taken up at an upcoming meeting of the Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Click here to e-mail Nick Kenney.