Connectivity Versus “Ugly Towers,” A Wyoming Town Decides

The town officials, service providers and customers of Pinedale, WY all want better coverage, but the residents don’t like the “ugly” towers. For the Town Council, it’s a balancing act between shaping Pinedale’s wireless future and protecting its views and pristine qualities.

Since September, there have been three readings of a new ordinance affecting tower restrictions. At the end of October, Pinedale Town Council approved a new ordinance that included removing language about “short” towers of 35 feet or less and guy wires, reported the Sublette Examiner. The original wording of the ordinance “would have hurt getting wireless in there,” said Greg Greenough, structures administrator for Visionary Communications.

According to Bob Rule, owner of Rule Communications and KPIN-FM, “The whole thing started out with the concept that communications towers are ugly, and we don’t want to have to look at so many of them. The town’s idea was to minimize the number of towers because they are ugly.” 

This was of concern to Rule or any ham radio operator, business or person wanting to construct a 20 to 35-foot tower to boost their wireless coverage. They’d be required to space them too far apart for much benefit. Additionally, the proposed height restriction in the ordinance would have required a special use permit for any structures higher than 35-feet tall.

“The ordinance would have been overly restrictive for two (closely placed) business owners,” Rule said. Greenough added, “Eliminating that wording took out roadblocks for people to get faster internet…”

The council has also chosen three locations for towers to be constructed in the spring of 2018. According to Mayor Bob Jones, the council has not yet determined tower ownership versus management. “The question then becomes would the town own them or lease them to a company? I have a feeling the council will not manage the towers – we’re not technically competent,” Jones said.

November 7, 2017                 

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