Commissioners approve shorter cell phone tower

Rio Blanco County Commissioners approved a Special Use Permit for Mercury Towers to construct a 105-foot wireless communication facility on land owned by Joe (standing) and Kelly Conrado. “When we went into this, we thought it would be good for Meeker and in the end it is going to be good for Meeker,” Conrado said.

Rio Blanco County Commissioners approved a Special Use Permit for Mercury Towers to construct a 105-foot wireless communication facility on land owned by Joe (standing) and Kelly Conrado. “When we went into this, we thought it would be good for Meeker and in the end it is going to be good for Meeker,” Conrado said.
RBC I Rio Blanco County commissioners unanimously approved a Special Use Permit (SUP) for Mercury Towers to construct a 105-foot wireless telecommunication tower on private property owned by Joe and Kelly Conrado.
Mercury Towers initially proposed a 199-foot tower at a public hearing held Nov. 19, 2012, where commissioners tabled the discussion to gather more information from the Federal Aviation Association and address the site location which was 30 feet from a neighbor’s property, 50 feet from RBC Road 13 (Flag Creek/Golf Course Road) and 75 feet from a high voltage power line.
The initial public hearing was continued until Dec. 11, at which time Mercury Towers’ representative Aaron Gunn requested an additional extension to evaluate other options. The commissioners granted the extension and held the final public hearing Jan. 28, 2013.
At the Jan. 28, hearing, RBC planner Anna Smith read part of the updated application, which had several modifications, including lowering the self-supporting tower from 199 feet to 105 feet and moving it to give the center of the tower a 115-foot setback from the adjacent property owners and a 171-foot setback from RBC County Road 13. The tower will be located in a 20’x62’x6’ fenced compound on the leased area of 50’x67.
Gunn said Mercury Towers is developing the site in conjunction with AT&T to improve the carrier’s wireless communication network in the area and it will also accommodate other carriers.
“We’ve compromised a lot on this but it will still work well for Meeker and the surrounding area,” Gunn said.
No one attending the meeting was against better communication coverage but some questioned the site location and the use of newer technologies.
Kevin Kleinsmith, a representative from Union Cellular, said his company was “neither for or against” the tower but wanted to correct some misinformation about Union’s services, which have included 3G service in the area for the past nine months, and recently used a conversion to allow AT&T wireless customers to get 3G service, with 4G service coming soon.
Smith read several letters of support into the record and after everyone was given an opportunity to address the commissioners, commissioner Jeff Eskelson made a motion to approve the SUP with nine conditions. Eskelson’s motion was seconded by commissioner Jon Hill. All three commissioners, including chairman Shawn Bolton, voted to approve.
“The message we want to send here is that we are oriented toward business and we support private property rights,” Eskelson said after the vote, to which Hill and Bolton both agreed.
The SUP was temporarily approved until a resolution can be reviewed, signed and formally approved at a public meeting Feb. 11 at 1:15 p.m.