FAA Approves Telluride Tower Light Being Activated By Plane’s Approach

At Wednesday’s San Miguel Board of County Commissioners meeting, officials won a minor battle to keep artificial lighting off of Coonskin Ridge, according to the Telluride Daily Planet.

Although a new communications tower already had the green light from commissioners, the FAA recently agreed to allow an aircraft detection lighting system on the tower — meaning the light, triggered by Doppler radar, would only be activated if an aircraft is nearby.

Currently there are no night flights into Telluride Regional Airport. The county enforces the Ridgeline Covenant — an agreement signed by the Town of Mountain Village, Telluride Ski and Golf and San Miguel County in 1998, intended to prevent artificial light from reaching the Coonskin view plane the Daily Planet said.

However, after several months of discussion, and a light demonstration for the previously approved communications tower on the ridge, commissioners begrudgingly were set to allow a light on the tower as required by the FAA according to the Daily Planet. But, as County Commissioner Hilary Cooper had stated previously, “We (the county commissioners) have a lot of objection to this, and this will have an impact on a lot of people in the community.”

Although the county has no authority to approve or deny the light, the county does have the authority to take legal action. The county said it would refrain from litigation under the condition that Mountain Village agree to turn off the upper bank of lights at the San Sophia Gondola station to mitigate the light pollution. The county also required Crown Castle, a contractor for the town, to make room for emergency communication equipment at the tower Daily Planet said.

February 7, 2017

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