Taos County Commission approves cell tower near Río Grande Gorge Bridge

By Jesse Moya
jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 8/16/19

Cell service in the Taos area could see a little boost following the Taos County Planning Commission’s regular Wednesday (Aug. 14) meeting. 

 

The commission voted unanimously …

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Taos County Commission approves cell tower near Río Grande Gorge Bridge

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Cell service in the Taos area could see a little boost following the Taos County Planning Commission’s regular Wednesday (Aug. 14) meeting. 

The commission voted unanimously to approve a special use permit for a 50-foot cellphone antenna tower near the Río Grande Gorge Bridge. The tower will have the capacity to hold up to 36 antennae and will broadcast 4G wireless signals to users up to 2,000 feet away from the tower. 

“We are definitely adding coverage,” said Jerry Muldowney, spokesman for the project and civil engineer. 

Four neighbors to the project spoke in opposition to the tower and expressed concerns about the tower’s height, the reduction of their property value as well as the looming entrance of 5G service to Taos. 

“Every morning that [tower] will greet us,” said neighbor Rafael Torres, who spoke in opposition to the tower. 

Torres is a part-time resident of the area who drove out from Texas to be present for the meeting. 

Taos County staff had said the tower’s application met all the permit requirements and was recommended for approval by the planning commission. Muldowney said the tower construction could be expected by the end of the year. 

The town will hold antennae to support 4G cellphone service and would also be available if law enforcement needed to use the tower for their communication as well. 

“I doubt the population in this area would push the need for 5G anytime soon,” Muldowney said during the meeting. Still, the tower will have the ability to hold 5G antennae if a company decides to upgrade their services. 

Muldowney said the initial plan for the tower was to build it 125 feet, but the smaller 50-foot tower was a compromise. 

Hemphill LLC will be building the tower. The Oklahoma telecom company already has a tower built near Las Vegas, New Mexico. 

According to Senior County Planner Rudy Perea, the project is approved, pending an appeal by anyone who was at the meeting. From the moment Perea files the approval, the public will have 30 days to file an appeal. If an appeal is filed, the decision then goes to the Taos County Board of Commissioners for final approval. 

Special use permits require all neighbors within a 1,000 feet radius of the project to be notified. 

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