Rules Made to Ensure the Colorado Rocky Mountain “Hi”


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During Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, Telluride, CO officials voted on new 5G small cell rules. The Telluride Daily Planet reported that the unanimous decision minimizes how the infrastructure impacts the downtown environments since the arrival of 5G is inevitable. Mayor DeLanie Young commented on 5G, saying, “We cannot say no to this. It’s when not if.”

According to town planning and building director Ron Quarles, “We can control how they [small cells] will be least impactful to the built environment. And that would include placements, locations, sightings, spacing, designs, appearance, heights, and assurances as far as abandonments, maintenance licenses, and agreements.”

Telluride has been preparing for the arrival of 5G since 2020, forming a committee of both town planning and zoning and historic and architectural (HARC) commissions to determine parameters for small cells. The committees considered the number of small cells needed when creating guidelines. Quarles added that the committee worked to “balance the rights of wireless providers under the current applicable laws to locate these facilities in the town against the town’s safety and historic aesthetic interests.”

The Daily Planet reported that the new ordinance tries to minimize “visual clutter” by applying general standards to small cell infrastructure, “including the use of non-reflective materials, no side mounted facilities, no above ground cabling, a minimum spacing of 300 feet, and no external signage” among other parameters. Since most of Telluride’s infrastructure is underground, typical mounting locations like traffic signals or power poles are unavailable. New facilities, according to Quarles, will be “within the rights-of-way and will either occur as modified replacement pedestrian light poles or as free-standing poles” and no more than 20-feet in height. 

Due to the Telecommunications Act constraints, Councilmember Dan Enright addressed the importance of notifying residents of the “upcoming proliferation of utility work.” “We need to be public information officers for the town and make sure that our citizens know that this is something through the Telecommunications Act (that) we can’t stop … we can only regulate and enforce because it’s coming,” Enright said. 


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