Community for, and against, Nextel’s Kukuiula South Shore tower plan

KOLOA – Residents have lined up for and against a proposal to hoist a 45-foot-tall Nextel cellular telephone tower at Poipu Plaza.

Today is the deadline for submission of written comments on the Nextel proposal to build the tower, which will increase in-building, in-car and on-street reception of cellular telephones in the area, according to Nextel’s application.

Many Koloa residents, joined by the boards of the Koloa Community Association and Poipu Beach Resort Association, are concerned about the visual impact of the tower at the gateway to Po’ipu.

Residents in favor include many current Nextel customers, who say wireless coverage is needed across the island, especially for emergency purposes.

Representatives of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii also favor the proposal, also for the purposes of emergency communications capabilities.

The existing building is around 20 feet tall, so an antenna built connected to the building would stand 25 feet taller than the existing structure.

PBRA representatives urged Kaua’i Planning Commission members to examine the proposal from a long-range planning perspective, said Margy Parker, PBRA executive director.

The ideal location for such an antenna could allow other cellular companies to share the facility, so that other companies don’t come in later with plans to build other towers in other locations, Parker said.

“We foresee more than one cell company applying to set up South Shore service,” as the goal is to provide more complete coverage in the Po’ipu resort area, she added.

Still, Nextel’s proposed tower won’t provide coverage to the Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort & Spa two miles down Poipu Road, according to Nextel documents supplied to the Kaua’i Planning Department.

According to Planning Department documents, Grove Farm officials indicated a willingness to discuss alternate tower sites.

Alexander & Baldwin officials, preparing to develop a 1,000-acre residential and resort subdivision, are also opposed to the Poipu Plaza tower.

The Planning Commission public hearing on the matter has closed, so a decision by the commission could be made as early as next Tuesday, June 24.

Written comments are due by 4:30 p.m. today in the Planning Department’s Lihue Civic Center office.

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