The Saratoga Sun -

Cell tower called for review

Siting complaints recorded for Encampment area construction

 

August 22, 2018



Cell phone coverage, depending on the person asked, is spotty at best in the Platte Valley. Saratoga, Encampment and Riverside are “Union Wireless Country” as they are the predominant provider in the area. On the horizon is the possibility of coverage for other, and more nationally known, providers such as T-Mobile. The horizon that the towers are proposed to be constructed on, however, is not to everyone’s liking.

Skyway Towers is a Florida-based communications tower construction company and is being contracted by Velocitel, a wireless company with an office in Colorado, to construct the tower just outside the town of Encampment as well as one outside of Saratoga. One tower has already been constructed by Skyway Towers outside Saratoga along Blazing Saddles Road.

The proposed towers to be built will stand approximately 310 feet in height and will require the installation of Federal Aviation Administration regulated lights to alert aircraft to their location. In documents submitted to Carbon County Planning and Zoning, Skyway Towers stated a project description for the towers to be built in conjunction with T-Mobile.

“Skyway Towers, LLC operates more than 300 telecommunications towers and sites for wireless carriers across the United States,” the statement read. “Skyway Towers, LLC has strong relationships with national and regional wireless carriers, and is working in connection with T-Mobile to develop a new site SE of Hwy 70 off of Emerson Blvd. to provide better cellular coverage including E-911 service to the surrounding areas.”

The tower that is being proposed in Encampment will be located on the property of James and Janet Herring, owners of J&J Herring, LLC. Shortly after a public notice was published in the Saratoga Sun on July 18, Encampment resident Cindy Hamilton submitted a plea to the Federal Communications Commission dated July 24, 2018.

“I am requesting an Environment Review for the proposed tower site just beyond the town limits of Encampment, WY,” wrote Hamilton in her plea. “There are a number of homes within a quarter mile of this site, all of whom will be heavily impacted by the light at night as well as the obstruction of our beautiful sunrises in the winter time.”

A plea from the Town of Encampment stressed similar concerns.

“There are a number of residences in close proximity to this site,” read the plea, “museum grounds which include a historical fire tower that people climb to view and photograph the area and wildlife inhabit the area just to name a few reasons (for the need for an environmental review).”

The plea finished with a request for “an environmental review of the site and the possibility that there are many other less invasive sites in the area for a tower of this height and magnitude.”

As of Aug. 17, a petition started by Robert C. Kelley, who lives approximately 375 yards from the proposed site, has obtained 134 signatures. It was recently expressed in both the Riverside and Encampment Town Council meetings that opposition to the tower has more to do with the proposed location and less to do with the need for the tower.

A similar tower is also being proposed for construction outside Saratoga, approximately three miles north of the town, off of Carbon County Road #550. As of press time, there had been no objections submitted for the Saratoga tower.

A hearing is scheduled for the Carbon County Planning and Zoning Commission at 10 a.m. on Sept. 10 at 215 W. Buffalo St., Suite 336 in Rawlins for both towers. Hearing dates are tentative and it is suggested that residents call the Carbon County Planning and Zoning Office at 307-328-2651.

 

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