Woody Creatures not high on cell tower | AspenTimes.com

Woody Creatures not high on cell tower

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

WOODY CREEK ” A stealth cell phone tower on the W/J Ranch in Woody Creek might not be as invisible as it should be, according to Pitkin County officials.

Carrington Brown, Pitkin County’s code-enforcement officer, is investigating a complaint that the tower ” used by cell-phone service providers Verizon and T-Mobile ” is too tall.

“There is an allegation of a code violation,” Brown said. “We’re still investigating that and trying to establish what the original proposal intended that tower to look like.”

Bob McDonough, who lives with his wife and two children in a home adjacent to the tower, isn’t high on the structure.

“We hate everything about it,” he said.

He added: “We have a lot of unmitigated issues. They promised us a big berm wall to mitigate the sound. They were going to do landscaping with trees.”

And McDonough said he’s always suspected the tower is too tall.

He joined his neighbors at a recent Pitkin County commissioners meeting to dispute a Sprint Nextel proposal for a second tower on the site. The group expressed concern about the effects of the existing tower, which, in some places, is less than 200 feet from homes.

Homeowners also complained about the noise levels from fans in a service building adjacent to the tower. Company officials have since turned the fans off, Brown said.

“The original tower is supposed to be 40 feet,” Brown said. He said he was unsure of the ruling and contacted officials from Verizon and T-Mobile on Monday to learn more about the original approval.

Brown said that if the tower is too tall, he would issue the companies letters of noncompliance and give them a chance to remedy the situation before any fines or litigation.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, people comply,” Brown said.

McDonough said the tower “slipped in” before the hazard review process and sits just 168 feet from one neighbor’s house. And he is concerned about the effect of radio waves on his family.

“We don’t think it complies with the aesthetics of the neighborhood,” McDonough said. “If you add everything up, we want that sucker to go away. I would love it if they moved it away and made it comply with the new land-use code.”

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