UPDATE Last week, the Estes Park, (CO) Town Board approved a 75-foot Verizon Wireless monopine by a 6-1 vote. According to the Estes Park Trail Gazette, the tower was previously denied by the Board due to the proposed location.
However, denying the project would have been illegal since it met all FCC requirements. The proposal also met all “applicable and procedures, standards, and criteria as required within the Estes Park Development Code,” reported the Trail Gazette. Senior Planner for Estes Park, Jeff Woeber, noted that Verizon determined the tower is necessary to improve service.
“Cell phone coverage in mountain areas, including the Estes Valley, has greatly improved over the last several years,” said Woeber in a memo to the Board. “However, there are areas where service is weak or nonexistent, including areas generally in the southern part of Estes Park.”
Chief Operating Officer of Estes Park Health, Gary Hall, added that the speed of service is a “constant struggle” for healthcare personnel, leading to delays in communication. He noted that Verizon is the service used by healthcare workers in Estes Park.
“From the perspective of community health support and timely healthcare services, cell communication in the town of Estes Park suffers from poor coverage in many areas, and suffers from poor signal strength in those same, and other, areas,” said Hall. “The opportunity to upgrade should be accepted eagerly, and construction should occur as soon as possible to address some of these shortcomings.”
The Town also surveyed members of the community regarding the project, including the Estes Chamber of Commerce. The responses were highly favorable, with 96.2 percent of the Chamber pro tower and 14 emails from the public showing support for improved service, reported the Trail Gazette.
One respondent asked that Verizon’s antenna be placed on an existing tower at the YMCA. Verizon representative Andrew Cole said that another carrier erected the YMCA tower, and the telecom is not permitted to use it. In addition, the new tower will have room for co-location.