Commission Approves Tower Amid Generator and Back-Up Battery Concerns

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The El Dorado County Planning Commission (CA) recently approved a 125-foot high cell tower for the tourist area of Camino to fill in gaps in coverage and capacity, reported the Mountain Democrat. Horizon Tower will construct the tower, which will co-locate up to four carriers, with Verizon being the first to house equipment on the tower.

According to county planner Aaron Mount, public comments during two hearings held before the agricultural commission were primarily focused on the aesthetics of the proposed tower, fire safety, and the potential impact on animal migration.

As a result of those comments, the site for the tower was moved several hundred feet southwest of its original location, per the Democrat.  

Another question was whether a generator would be installed and why back-up batteries were not part of the plan in case of a power shutdown by PG&E. The latter point became moot once Commissioner Jeff Hansen informed the commission that the state legislature would consider requiring towers to have 72-hours worth of back-up power in the event of a power shutdown.

Many members of the public support the tower project, saying the technology upgrade is necessary. Laurel Brent-Bumb, CEO of the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, noted that there was an “exceptional need” for the tower, calling it an economic development issue that will also help first responders. 

 The Democrat reported the commission voted to approve the tower project with additional conditions, including the installation of a generator and the completion of a noise study to ensure the generator meets county standards. According to John Merritt, president of Empire Media Corporation, the tower’s construction is slated for completion by the end of the first quarter of 2020. 

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