When is a water tower not a water tower? When, in reality, it’s the latest strand in Napa’s cellphone coverage web.
Verizon Wireless has gained Napa’s permission to install its next cell transmitter inside a maintenance yard at Napa High School, near the southwest corner of campus off Lincoln Avenue and Marin Street. Instead of a metal pole, however, passers-by will see a 55-foot-tall shell resembling an old-style wooden water tower, topped by a 10 ½-foot-wide “tank” on stilts.
A Verizon official said the transmitter, approved Thursday night by the city Planning Commission, will fortify signal strength and call and data capacity – especially indoors – for those in surrounding homes, businesses, and for the faculty, staff and more than 1,900 students at Napa High.
City planners accepted the tower location as filling a need for students and others in the neighborhood while staying as far from active school areas as possible. Verizon picked the school maintenance-yard site over six alternative locations, including two at Napa High – one closer to the Lincoln/Marin crossing, the other beside sports practice fields north of the service yard.
The continuing move away from traditional landlines requires Napa to allow local coverage nets to grow and strengthen, said Commissioner Beth Painter. “This is the world we live in, and we have an obligation to make sure that service is the best it can be,” she said before casting one of the three votes for approval. (Commissioners Gordon Huether and Michael Murray were absent.)
Verizon’s chosen disguise will resemble the envelope of another tank-like wireless tower built for…