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MEEKER I “The reason we are asking for continuation is because we have had some issues with the exact location which we applied for,” Aaron Gunn, a representative of Mercury Towers said.
Joe and Kelly Conrado applied for a special use permit (SUP) to have Mercury Towers build a 199-foot wireless telecommunication tower on the southwest corner of a parcel land located off Rio Blanco County Road 13 (also known as the Flag Creek Road).
According to the application, Mercury Towers will develop the proposed site in conjunction with AT&T to improve the carrier’s wireless communications network in the area, as part of an initiative to provide broadband in rural areas of the state. Coverage would increase for AT&T customers and others in the area, as the tower would be a co-location tower, meaning it would be used by AT&T and other carriers.
Gunn said AT&T had also requested additional time, “to look at additional sites so not to leave any stones unturned, so when we come in we have complete information, have done all our homework and another month will help us do that, so that is why we have asked for a continuance,” continued Gunn.
A pubic hearing was held Nov. ??, regarding the application and although all in attendance were in favor of better coverage, many expressed safety and view scape concerns, concerns the tower would be located in the “landing and takeoff area of the Meeker Airport and the fact the tower would be built within 75 feet of a high-voltage power line, not meeting White River Electric’s requirement a 1 to 1 fall distance plus 10 feet.
Rio Blanco County commissioners granted the second continuance and set the hearing date for Jan. 28, 2013 at 7 p.m.
“This will be the final continuance and there will be a decision made on this matter Jan. 28,” commissioner chairman Shawn Bolton said. Comments can be sent to RBC planner Anna Smith and must be received by Jan. 14 at noon and Smith said there would be no additional notification in the newspaper or of adjacent landowners about the continued public hearing.
“We’re still working on it,” Joe Conrado said after the hearing. “We don’t want to lose any of our agricultural land,” Conrado said regarding moving the tower site to accommodate the WREA required fall line.
“We’ll have it all together on the 28th (January) and see what happens,” Gunn said.
After the meeting, local attorney Joe Fennessy, representing adjacent landowners Les and Susie Sprod, said after the meeting, “A 199-foot tower in a scenic residential area is just ugly. Big towers violate all building codes in America. A big tower near an airport is unsafe to our local and visiting aircraft. If AT&T wants to sell its broadband to Meeker and Rangely, AT&T has the burden to come up with better plans and listen to its customers. Ugly does not sell, beauty does. I hope common sense prevails and our commissioners can make a good decision for all the citizens of Rio Blanco County.”