Snowmass to get new cell tower |

Snowmass to get new cell tower

A small Verizon cell tower will be installed adjacent to a maintenance shed on the southwest corner of the rodeo parking lot, improving cell reception within approximately a 2,000-foot radius. The Snowmass Village Town Council approved Verizon's application to install the tower on its land on Monday.
Courtesy image |

Cellphone service in a key area of Snowmass Village will improve for some users when Verizon installs a new tower approved by Town Council on Monday night.

The small cell tower will be mounted at a height of 25 feet on the north side of the maintenance shed located on a corner of the rodeo parking lot. From there, it will transmit reception to locations within a 2,000-foot radius, excluding areas cut off by terrain, said Verizon representatives at the meeting.

The goal of placing the tower there is to not only close a reception gap in the area but also address capacity issues during events such as the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience, Verizon’s Chris Harrington said. The tower will improve service at the recreation center, ball fields and golf course.

That’s all well and good, but council members had suggestions of other areas with coverage gaps, such as the Two Creeks parking lots and the neighborhoods surrounding Town Park that the new tower just won’t quite reach.

“We do know coverage is lacking there on east side of town,” said Greg Chamberlin, Harrington’s colleague. “We would like to put three or four of these in town to possibly close other coverage holes.”

While the council approved Verizon’s application to install the facility, it did not accept a request to create an administrative process that would expedite the process for the carrier to install future towers throughout town. Mayor Markey Butler was concerned about giving Verizon special treatment over other carriers as well as seeing a plan for where future towers will be installed.

“How do we provide overall coverage, and then secondly, how do we maintain so that whichever of the carriers wants to participate can participate?” Councilman Bob Sirkus added.

Town Manager Clint Kinney said the point was well-taken, but the town should take a balanced approach that also encourages private companies to step in and improve service.

“Increased service is something people are looking for,” Kinney said. “In order to make sure the service level’s where it’s at for the community, we have to make sure our process can accommodate them.”

One other carrier could piggyback onto the cell tower approved Monday if its equipment is compatible, Chamberlin said, and that could be possible with future sites, as well.

Verizon will install the tower during a shoulder season. The tower’s steel structural pole will be painted to match other light poles nearby, and a functional light will be mounted on it at approximately 15 feet.

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