Grand County steers cell phone providers toward sharing towers |

Grand County steers cell phone providers toward sharing towers

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

The Grand County Commissioners agreed cellular telephone companies should share existing towers rather than build new ones that lead to controversy.

Decisions made Tuesday on Verizon Wireless special-use permits may appease residents who frown upon having a new 100-foot Cricket cellular tower built in their neighborhood.

Neighbors of the High Country Stampede rodeo grounds have contested a plan to install a 100-foot-tall cellular tower proposed by Cricket Communications Inc. and Mile High Tower on a Fraser site owned by the Winter Park Horseman’s Association.

Upon Grand County Planning Commission review, the tower plan was rejected and headed for a decision by Grand County Commissioners slated for August.

But an existing Verizon Wireless tower in Fraser near the corner of CR5 (4 Bar 4 Road) and CR 5101 may have intercepted the need for a competitor’s new tower.

In language approving a special use permit for that Verizon tower as well as another existing one at Wolford Mountain, commissioners required that cellular companies cohabit towers before they seek permission to build anew.

The idea is not uncommon where there are multiple carriers covering the same area, said County Attorney Jack DiCola.

“I can’t say on behalf of Verizon Wireless that they will go into a co-location agreement with Cricket,” said Irene Cooke representing Verizon. However, with structural changes to the tower proposed ” Verizon plans to add 42 feet to the existing 83-foot tower ” “adding height to the existing tower will be sufficient for Verizon to co-locate,” she said.

A co-location application has been submitted by Cricket to Verizon for this site, but the status of that application is still unknown, according to the Grand County Planning Department.

Neighbors who worried a new Cricket tower would lower property values, such as J.D. and Barol Bothun, have said they are amicable to the pending new arrangement. Several e-mails were submitted in support of the Verizon tower height extension and the notion that Cricket may choose to co-locate, according to planning officials.

Landfill building settling

Grand County building official Scott Penson said in light of land settling where a large Grand County storage building is located at the Granby landfill, he thought it might be “beneficial to enlist the services of a structural engineer” to “see what we’re up against.” Commissioner Gary Bumgarner, for one, said he hopes the county can salvage the shifting building.

Septic systems fail

Eight septic systems have failed at Four Way Estates and a neighboring property near County Road 8. The failure was evidenced by effluent rising up to the ground and running into a county road.

County Manager Lurline Underbrink Curran speculated about the possibility of removed trees causing the groundwater table to rise. Penson said the county could play a leadership role for homeowners in setting up meetings if requested.

County reaffirms FEMA flood insurance decision

County commissioners briefly revisited their decision to not join the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Insurance Program and reiterated their reasons to two Tabernash homeowners.

In their findings, commissioners and planning director Kris Manguso said it is possible to get private insurance for nearly the same as federal insurance if in a flood plain. The county found that the benefits of the program were not significant enough to warrant inclusion in the program.

“The current process of giving building permits in Grand County doesn’t need to be supplemented with the FEMA National Insurance Program at this time,” Commissioner Gary Bumgarner said. “The county is willing to revisit that if citizens become inconvenienced.”

Housing Authority to study impact fee

The Grand County Housing Authority plans to apply for an Energy Impact grant to pay for a nexus study with the ultimate goal of creating a countywide affordable housing impact fee.

Authority board of directors held off applying for the grant until December of 2009 rather than do so in the 08 budget cycle.