Can You Hear Me Now? Commissioners Punt Cell Tower

By Bryce Cornatzer
7 Aug 2014

The Park County Commissioners have punted a decision on a proposed cell phone tower between Cody and Powell.

Bridger Wireless applied for a special use permit to erect a 195 foot galvanized tower on land owned by the Beemer family along John Wayne Lane.

Neighboring landowners spoke against the cell tower.

Bob Bole works in real estate and says he understands how unsightly features near a property can lower its perceived value.
“I have very real concerns about property value,” said Bole. “I am on two sides of the site and feel that we have literally millions of acres around here that a tower could go on. It doesn't need to be located so close to a number of residential units.”

Neighbor Phyllis Praetor asked why this cell tower is being proposed when the commissioners just last month approved an AT&T tower a few miles from the John Wayne location.

The answer staff gave was the two are competing companies but added that AT&T had plans to rent tower space from Bridger Wireless.

Tyler Schofield is a consulting engineer for Bridger Wireless.

“There were different sites,” said Tyler Schofield, a consulting engineer for Bridger Wireless. “Clearly this was a better site because of lease price and better service. We didn't pick this site specifically. Bridger Wireless came to us with this site and we moved forward with it.”

Neighbor Spencer George of George Family Farms says the location doesn't make sense to him.

“I just kind of find it funny that that's an ideal location for an antenna,” said George. “It's a hole. If you were to look for places to place an antenna you'd want to put it up high, I think.”

The roadway is another complication. According to Bole, the John Wayne Lane easement states the road is only to be used for residential purposes. Bridger Wireless is a commercial entity.

Assistant County Planner Becky Ross the agreement contains some grey area.

“They do have a road users agreement,” said Ross. “It says that the residents and the guests of the residents are allowed to use the road.”

Schofield says legal counsel for Bridger Wireless considers the company guests of the Beemers.

Bole pledged to fight that interpretation of guest in court if it came to that point.

The commissioners delayed a decision on approval of the cell tower. The five agreed to travel to the proposed site.

Commissioner Joe Tilden was in sole dissent to a motion continuing Tuesday's public hearing. He was of the mind that the property is private and if landowners were upset enough by the approval it would be stopped somehow through a civil lawsuit.

The five commissioners will travel to the site this week. The public hearing on the cell tower will resume Tuesday afternoon at 1.

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