Opposition grows in Floyd over the proliferation of cell phone towers along ridgelines. But, as cellphone usage grows, so will the number of towers, especially in mountain areas where more towers are needed to cover the area.

Perhaps the solution lies in what they are doing in California to disguise the unsightly towers of metal.

As Clint Swett of The Sacramento Bee writes:

When it comes to camouflaging cell phone towers, those diseased-looking fake firs could soon become an endangered species.

With cell sites proliferating to meet the insatiable appetite of mobile phone users, wireless companies are devising elaborate — and sometimes expensive — ways to defuse community opposition to unsightly metal towers.

They’re hiding them in flag poles, church bell towers, fake palm trees and even faux-stone chimneys.

“As we grow in residential areas, we have to get creative,” said Peter Maushardt, real estate manager for Verizon Wireless in Northern California. “Now 60 percent or more of what we do has to have some type of camouflage. … You want to locate the site like you’re living in the neighborhood.”

That’s no more apparent than at Fair Oaks Nursery in Carmichael, Calif., where two stone chimneys enhance the Tuscany-style exterior. Unbeknownst to most passersby, the chimneys actually are made of fiberglass designed to conceal separate antennas owned by Verizon and Sprint Nextel.

“Nobody has a clue that those are cell towers,” said Debbie Woodruff, the nursery’s owner. “People think the chimneys are gorgeous and we get millions of compliments on them.”