Dropped calls have long been a fact of life in the mountains, but anybody who has lived here for some time would notice an uptick in coverage over the last decade. The drawback is finding the right sites to place cell towers to expand coverage, and a 92-foot monopine Verizon tower planned for Glenshire has recently encountered static from nearby residents.
“The tower is proposed to be located in the middle of a long-established residential neighborhood,” said Brita Tryggvi, president of the Meadows Association in Glenshire. “This is not a second home area, these are primary homes with full-time residents.”
The tower plan was submitted to the Town of Truckee on Aug. 20 after 13 other sites were considered and ultimately rejected due to either being too far from the coverage area, or not getting a response from the property owners. Tryggvi said the property owner will receive payment for leasing his land to Verizon while other owners who were contacted by Verizon decided the drawbacks of the tower were not worth the money.
Town planner Kirk Skierski said the town received 17 public comments on the tower, 16 against and one for, with many advocating a town ordinance against cell towers in residential areas. Skierski said any ordinance the town would put in place that would hinder such a tower, however, could be ultimately overturned by federal law. The town did reach out to Teichert Aggregates, the owners of one potential site at the Martis Valley Quarry to see if they would consider the tower, but Skierski said the mining company stated the tower would interfere with its quarry operations. He also said that such a location would be difficult due to the lack of utilities.
“It seems clear from Teichert that they were not willing to have those types of facilities on their property due to their quarry operations,” Skierski said.
Heidi Flato, a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, said the tower is necessary to keep up with demand in the area, and that the Filly Lane location is likely the end of the road. “The demand for wireless is increasing daily so we try and stay ahead of the curve,” Flato said. “Typically, when we’ve decided on a location we’ve exhausted all other possibilities in the area.”
The project requires a use permit approval from the town planning commission to move forward, and Skierski said it is scheduled for the Dec. 18 meeting. Tryggvi told Moonshine Ink that in the case of a permit being awarded, she believes “it is likely the decision would be appealed.” Such an appeal would then require the project be heard by the Truckee town council.