TELLURIDE – After the San Miguel County Planning Commission approved a one-step special use permit application for Mercury Towers cellular tower in Norwood on Oct. 10, a San Miguel Board of County Commissioners call-up hearing has been ordered by commissioners Joan May and Art Goodtimes. It is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 6 p.m. in Norwood.
Members of the planning commission approved, 2-1, a 150-foot monopole cellular tower on Ralph Weaver’s property in Norwood, with the condition that the applicant would apply to have the tower built at another location near the county’s gravel pit on Sunset Ridge. If that alternative site is ultimately approved, it is expected that the tower would be built at that new location. If not, then the tower could be built on the Ralph Weaver property, near the San Miguel County Fairgrounds and Norwood Schools.
A day after the planning commission’s conditional approval, Goodtimes and May submitted written notice that they are calling up the special use permit approval, saying more answers are needed before the approval should be finalized.
It is the first time San Miguel commissioners have used the call-up procedure since it was implemented in 2006.
“These questions and concerns have to do with current coverage and AT&T’s obligation to improve its cell service, how the proposed installation ties into the larger telecommunications network and potential options in terms of visual impacts and planning the best engineering and coverage options for a new cell phone tower and antenna to serve this portion of San Miguel County,” May and Goodtimes’ letter states. “It is also the intent of the call-up to clarify the intent, the timing and manner for complying with the Planning Commission’s condition requiring the applicant to apply for a tower at another location in the area of the county gravel pit [Sunset Ridge].”
Furthermore, Goodtimes said at the commissioners meeting on Oct. 17 in Telluride that he has questions about the cell tower’s target area as it relates to its building envelope, where fiber optic connections will be made to the tower, and if there are other suitable locations for the tower in Norwood.
“One of the concerns I had about the planning commission approval is that they suggested an alternative site be applied for,” Goodtimes said. “That site could be a mile or two or three from [a fiber optic] connection. That, to me, is a significant issue.”
As stated in the LUC, the county have 14 days to notify Mercury Towers of the call-up procedure and then the commissioners must hold the call-up review within 30 days of the original written notice.
The Nov. 7 call-up hearing is tentatively scheduled to take place in the Norwood Community Center at 6 p.m.
Inconsistency in LUC Cleared Up With Amendment
The San Miguel Board of County Commissioners cleared up an inconsistency in the county’s Land Use Code after approving an amendment at its meeting on Oct. 17.
The commissioners approved a LUC amendment adding missing language to will allow the construction of homes between 5,000 and 12,000 square feet within the county’s high, medium and low density zone districts.
According to information provided by Planning Director Mike Rozycki, an inconsistency in the LUC as related to the three zone districts was inadvertently created when the county completed a series of amendments, dating back to 1990, allowing homes under 5,000 square feet and over 12,000 square feet (by special review) to be built, but deleting language regarding homes between 5,000 and 12,000 square feet.
Passage of the LUC amendment, which was recommended by the San Miguel County Planning Commission, fills in the missing language to allow construction of homes between 5,000 and 12,000 square feet in the county’s low, medium and high density zone districts.
The language approved at the commissioners’ public hearing states that single-family dwellings of less than 12,000 feet are an allowed use by right, and that if the proposed residence is located within a subdivision or a Planned Unit Development, the applicant shall provide written approval of the proposed building plan from the HOA, if that HOA has established review guidelines.