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Possible New Cell Tower in Chico Raises Questions About Water Tanks

A company will ask the Chico Planning Commission Thursday if they can build a large monopine cell tower - just two streets away from 3rd and Cherry, where one of the 4 historic tanks is currently serving the same purpose.

Posted: Jun. 7, 2018 4:32 AM
Updated: Jun. 7, 2018 6:21 AM

Chico, Calif.-- A company wants to put up a large cell-phone tower in downtown Chico - just two streets away from one of the city's historic water towers.

The four water tanks are currently only used to mount cell phone equipment and Cal Water is already considering tearing them down.

Cal Water says the water towers in Chico are seismically unsound and slated for possible demolition.

But tonight, the Chico Planning Commission will hear from "MT2 Telecom", a company that wants to build a mono-pine structure on North Cedar and 3rd Street - the ones that look like a large pine tree.

They're contracted with AT&T, so that means this AT&T equipment at the 3rd & Cherry tank would likely be removed.

Many local residents are passionate about saving these towers for historical value, and some worry about how this will impact the fate of this tower.

"I think they're iconic to our history and I think they should be preserved in some way," said resident Carolyn Adkisson.

"I like them, I've always been around them - I don't think we have to preserve all of them, maybe just the one over by the downtown is what I'd say,' said Don Adkisson.

A representative for MT2 says that it was actually provider AT&T that asked them to find another tower; Vrizon and T-Mobile also use this water tower here but would be able to use the mono-pine tower if it goes up.

While the Planning Commission will hear the request tonight at the 6 p.m. meeting, the city's planning department is already recommending approval for the use permit.

Cal Water's Director Georger Barber says all 4 tanks still could be torn down, but the new cell tower is unrelated - it doesn't signify anything.

The utility is still hoping that a company will buy or lease the tanks and continue to use them as cell towers.

The cell-tower company rep says the mono-pine would improve service to customers.

But as for the safety of keeping the old tank?

Barber says they're currently looking at all 4 of the tanks to see if they can make them more structurally sound, in case of an earthquake.

And for now, Cal Water has not requested a demolition permit for the removal of any tanks.

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