News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

WOODY CREEK ” Officials from Sprint Nextel on Wednesday withdrew an application to put another cell tower on the W/J Ranch in Woody Creek.

At a Pitkin County commissioners meeting on Sept. 12, concerned neighbors spoke out against the planned 32-foot cell tower disguised as a pine tree.

Verizon and T-Mobile use a 40-foot tower on the site, and neighbors expressed concerns over noise and dangerous signals coming from the tower, and asked commissioners to deny the additional tower.

Commissioners continued the discussion until members of the Woody Creek Caucus had a chance to look at the proposal.

“I’m really glad that they withdrew the application,” said Nancy Pearce, a neighbor of the project.

But Pearce and other neighbors are concerned about the noise and tattered condition of the existing “stealth tower” disguised as a pine tree.

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Using a sound meter, officials from the county’s environmental health department calculated the noise from fans and generators at the site at 65 decibels. County code limits noise to 55 decibels in the daytime and 50 decibels at night.

County officials will hire a third party to assess noise at the site.

There was also discussion of putting a Sprint cell tower on the nearby Woody Creek Raceway. By withdrawing the application, officials from Sprint can submit another application in coming days.

EL JEBEL ” Federal and local firefighters plan to hold a prescribed burn on 160 acres of Basalt Mountain this week, according to the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit.

Firefighters will start Thursday by “blacklining” or burning the perimeter of the area to prepare for igniting the interior. Then on Friday, about 30 firefighters will hand-ignite fires with drip torches.

“Fire engines will be on scene for both days,” according to a statement from the U.S. Forest Service, one of the federal agencies involved in the effort. “Weather conditions also will be closely monitored, and the burn will only be initiated if conditions are ideal for safe and effective prescribed fire.”

The targeted site is five miles north of El Jebel on Basalt Mountain. The burn is intended to improve wildlife habitat and create greater defensible space around development.

The Basalt Mountain Road, No. 524, might be closed for several hours on Friday. Campers may be asked to relocate temporarily while the burn is conducted. Hunters and other forest visitors won’t be able to move freely in the area on Friday.

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