Diamond Communications in a “Rough” Spot With Village

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Neighbors in Los Cerrillos are rising up against an 80-foot AT&T tower proposed near the entrance of a historic village and in full view of a scenic byway. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that residents aren’t necessarily opposed to the tower, considering the village has “virtually no cell service,” but are concerned that the location is too near the village and Cerrillos Hills Park. 

Another objection comes in the form of aesthetics. The tower is proposed as a monopine, which one resident said is “not congruent with the character of the village at all.”

According to developer Thomas Waniewski, senior vice president of site acquisition for New Jersey-based Diamond Communications, the company has been working to find a location for a tower for over two years. “This has been identified as an area that lacks cell phone coverage for not only AT&T but also Verizon and T-Mobile,” he wrote in an email. 

Waniewski said the location in Los Cerrillos was identified “as a necessary site for FirstNet, which will provide coverage and interoperability for all first responders.” He added that “the heightened fire season has highlighted this need, as well as the pandemic, where cellular communications provide a lifeline for remote communities and allow residents to connect to the world and their community from home.”

Diamond planned to host a virtual neighborhood meeting this week, but a clerical error prevented it. The meeting will be scheduled for later in the month, noted Waniewski. According to the New Mexican, Diamond is requesting a site development plan to install a monopine and a variance to allow the structure to be built up to 80 feet high since the maximum zoning height allowance is 24 feet. 

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