116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A 125-foot-tall cell tower will go up in an undeveloped corner of Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery property after the cemetery and a cell tower developer won a conditional use permit for the tower this week from the city's Board of Adjustment.
It is the first cell tower on cemetery property in Cedar Rapids, said Vern Zakostelecky, a senior planner with the city.
The board's vote was 4-0 and followed an earlier unanimous vote by the City Planning Commission, which recommended approval of the conditional use permit to the board.
Five antenna arrays will be added to the tower's post, which will sit just to the southwest of the Kohl's store at 361 Collins Rd. NE, Zakostelecky told the Board of Adjustment.
According to the city, a landlord near the tower site raised a concern via letter to City Hall about cell tower radio waves, and board members Bill Vernon and Nancylee Ziese asked a representative of cell tower developer Capital Telecom of Morristown, N.J., about the subject. The representative said any waves will be well under levels allowed by the Federal Communications Commission.
The cell tower is of note because another request to build a cell tower in a cemetery in Cedar Rapids did not win approval earlier this year.
In that instance, the City Planning Commission voted 7-1 against a request by Czech National Cemetery and U.S. Cellular for a conditional use permit to allow a 120-foot-tall cell tower amid gravestones in the southwest Cedar Rapids cemetery.
Some with loved ones in the cemetery objected to the tower, as did a cemetery next to the Czech National Cemetery.
Some City Planning Commission members noted that they might have looked more favorably on the cell tower if it had been proposed to be located closer to the edge of the cemetery, away from the heart of the property.
The Czech National Cemetery withdrew its cell tower request from consideration by the Board of Adjustment, which has final say on conditional use permits.
John Linge, who heads up the Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery Association and Cedar Memorial Funeral Home Co., on Tuesday said cell towers in cemeteries are popping up across Iowa as a way to raise revenue to support cemetery lot owners. Small rural cemeteries, in particular, can consider the lease revenue generated by the placement of a cell tower in a cemetery a "godsend," Linge said.