The issue of cell towers has been a hotly debated one across homeowner associations. You have plenty of open space and phone carrier brands want to put a tower in your midst. Should you allow it? What benefits does the cell tower deal offer to your community, and how does that contrast the downsides? And if you do decide to build a tower, how can you enhance those benefits and minimize any downsides for your community?
That is exactly what we are diving into today: The benefits of and strategies for building a cell tower in your HOA community.
1) New Income for the Community
- Monthly lease with the cell carrier
- Option to "sell" the lease for each leasing period
- Pass the savings on to members
The single most profound and obvious benefit is the income stream. When a carrier builds a tower on your property, they lease the land from you. They pay a monthly rent on the space the cell tower sits and the surrounding maintenance area, and the association collects those checks. This could be a significant boost in your annual budget and an opportunity to pass the savings on to members.
Selling the Lease (Temporarily)
You also have the option to "sell" your lease to an aggregate provider who collects the rental income but pays you a lump sum that might be higher. When the lease ends, the new lease defaults back to the community.
Pass On the Savings
The income your association makes from the cell tower can be used to either reduce dues or lessen the burden of the next special assessment costs. Let your community know when and where those funds are being used for their benefit.
2) Stronger Cell Signal for the Neighborhood
Beyond the income, a cell tower in your community provides a truly functional bonus to everyone in the area: Stronger cell signal. Everyone will have faster data and more reliable phone services in the vicinity of the cell tower whose purpose is to boost cell signal coming in from the nation's broadcast sources.
For a modern smartphone-using community, the benefit of a powerful local cell signal relay tower cannot be denied. Everyone's phones, tablets, and hotspots will work faster and more reliably when at home and around the community grounds when that tower goes up.
3) Rising to the Aesthetic Challenge
The primary objection to cell towers in HOAs has been one of aesthetics: People are wary about a rising tower of metal scaffold in the community. But for a lively HOA council, this is a challenge you can rise to. Where can you put the cell tower where it doesn't diminish the view and potentially even increases the aesthetics of the community space?
A cell tower needs road access for maintenance and a radius of open space (including overhead trees) for safety. You can designate a spot behind the last row of houses or even find a place in the community park where it can add to the aesthetics. Consider decorating near the cell tower fence with other similar designs like windmills or outdoor metal sculptures. A ring of lower towers or a stair-step design can make your cell tower look like the cherry-on-top of a design instead sticking out like a sore thumb. How will you make your cell tower accent the community's appeal instead of detracting? It's all about your property design and landscaping options surrounding the open space.
4) Having the Cell Tower Managed
You don't even have to manage the cell carrier relationship if you don't care to. An HOA management team, possibly one you're already working with, can take over the ongoing negotiations for better access or renewed lease terms. If a cell tower would bring beneficial income but take the council's time away from community matters, your management team can easily take on the tower lease along with other regular maintenance tasks.
Building a cell tower in your HOA community is more approachable than most councils realize. The tower doesn't have to be unattractively built, and the boost in cell signal is a benefit everyone will appreciate. If you can lower dues or reduce the impact of improvements with the income, your community may quickly see the benefits of the construction and join in your enthusiasm for new projects.
For more insights on HOA management and smart choices for your community's future, contact us today!