Cell Tower Pulled by Proposer

By Bryce Cornatzer
13 Aug 2014

Residents in rural Park County are relieved following a decision to drop a proposed cell phone tower between Powell and Cody.

Last week, Bridger Wireless went before the Park County Commissioners for a decision to erect a 195 foot cell phone tower on John Wayne Lane. Neighboring residents showed-up to the public hearing to voice their concerns over the tower's location.

Neighbor Bob Bole works in the real estate industry and said that features like cell phone towers had a negative impact on the value of surrounding properties.

“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.”

Phyllis Praetor asked why Bridger Wireless was proposing this 195 foot tower when one just a little shorter and within three miles of John Wayne Lane had been approved by the commissioners last month.

Assistant Planner Becky Ross answered that the first tower was approved for AT&T and the two were competing companies.

Proximity is what killed the John Wayne tower that was to be located on land owned by the Beemer Family Trust. A letter to the county planning office dated Tuesday has the Vice President of Bridger Wireless' Business Development saying he was unaware that a tower previously approved tower in the area would be within roughly 10,000 feet of the John Wayne location.

He writes, “In the world of wireless that can either be too close or not close enough. Unfortunately, with the mostly flat terrain of the area this site is too close to our proposed tower...”

Charlie and Jessie Lang live next door to the property where the tower was being proposed. The Langs say that when they learned a cell tower was being proposed in their area they began researching health risks associated cellular transmissions.

“It was hard to think about losing property value,” said Jessie Lang, “but it wasn't a life or death situation.”

Lang's husband Charlie nodded in agreement.

“At first, if it was just the aesthetics of it, it didn't really bother me,” said Charlie. “It's not that we wanted it there but it wasn't that big of a deal if it happened. Then, once we found-out the health risks and depreciation of our property, that's when it became a concern to us.”

Spencer and Heidi George are neighbors as well. A lot of contradicting evidence exists as to exactly how dangerous cell tower transmissions are but George says cell phone towers are not unlike other things in life that were once thought to be harmless.

“It's kind of like cigarettes back in the day,” said George. “They were awesome. Everyone was using them. Then pretty quickly people started connecting dots and realizing that there's a health hazard connected with smoking. The Surgeon General says, 'Don't do it.' That's where we're at right now—people are connecting dots. I don't have to tell people that there's a danger with the cell tower; people already know that. It's just a matter of proving it.”

The Georges and Langs are skeptical that the tower might not reappear in close proximity to their homes. For them even a couple of miles away is too close. They vowed to watch for another tower to show-up for the commissioners' approval and plan to speak in protest.

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Location : Park County