ns tower development
GRAPHIC COURTESY CITY OF DELTONA REACH FOR THE STARS — This map shows the locations of cell towers within Deltona. The red stars denote the locations of towers on city-owned land. The orange pins indicate cell towers on private property. The white stars show the locations of possible future towers. Outlined within the city limits in blue and orange are areas of poor service experienced by some users, according to consulting firm Neel-Schaffer.

Deltona to build Tower of Babble

With favorable words from a consultant and a growing six-figure income for its treasury, Deltona is eyeing construction of another telecommunications tower.

Deltona already has three cell towers on publicly owned land, and it may add a fourth — or more — after the City Commission on Aug. 15 agreed to develop possible new sites. 

The towers on city-owned land are privately owned, but they pay rent to the city, and they become more profitable by renting their vertical space to other telecommunications companies.

“The purpose is really to improve the wireless service in the city of Deltona,” Rosemary Aldridge, an engineer with the consulting firm of Neel-Schaffer Inc., told the City Commission.

Deltona already has 12 cell towers, as registered with the Federal Communications Commission, but that may not be enough.

Aldridge pointed out what some city leaders and residents already know: There are coverage gaps within the sprawling city of 95,000.

“We’ve got a dead zone out by Walmart,” Acting City Manager John Peters said, referring to the Walmart Supercenter at 101 Howland Blvd., on Deltona’s southeast side.

Thus, the next tower to be constructed on city-owned land may be along Keelhaul Road, east of State Road 415, not far from Deltona’s Eastern Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Neel-Schaffer identified other pockets of poor communication in Deltona, including spots in the older central parts of the city and not far from existing towers. Affected users include customers of AT&T and Verizon.

“There will always be a need for the big towers,” Aldridge said.

The towers are a money-maker for Deltona. The city will likely receive approximately $335,000 in payments from the towers’ private owners. Each tower is built to accommodate about four tenants, each of whom may pay $2,000-$3,000 per month for space on the facility to send and relay signals.

Based on direction given by the City Commission, Deltona is now considering building a tower that the city would own, as well as the land, and thus would receive more income.

If a new tower begins with two tenants, the tower owner could count on at least $4,000 each month, or $48,000 per year. 

Tenants usually sign leases of five years in length, according to information compiled by Neel-Schaffer. The number of tenants may increase as the demand for wireless services rises.

Engineering, design, marketing and construction-management costs for a tower the city would own amount to about $40,000, and actual construction costs about $250,000. The estimated construction time for a cell tower is 18-24 months. The estimated payback period for a new tower is approximately six years, or less.

Without objection, the City Commission reached a consensus in favor of going further toward the city’s building and owning a cell tower.


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