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Saguache County community says cell tower is an attack on their way of life

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KRDO NEWSCHANNEL 13

CRESTONE, Colo. (KRDO) -- A newly proposed cellphone tower in a small Saguache County community is sparking controversy and fear that the proposal could change their way of life. 

On July 28th, the Planning Commission in Saguache County approved a rezoning request to permit the construction of a cell tower in a 6-acre plot of land along County Road 7 running from Moffat to Crestone. Saguache County Commissioners were scheduled to review the plan at a meeting on Tuesday, however, the sent the application back to the Planning Commission. 

In a statement to 13 Investigates, a spokesperson for the Saguache County Commissioners said “a motion was made this morning to send this zoning change request back to the Saguache County Planning Commission on their August 25th meeting.  Therefore, there will not be a comment made by the county commissioners at this time.”  

According to Amber Wilson, the Land Use administrator in Saguache County, the proposed project is meant to improve cell phone usage in the area.  The cell tower would be owned by the property owners, and those property owners would then contract with cell phone companies to put their service on that tower. Wilson says the property owners would in turn use the funds from the tower to pay the bills for a community resource center, which would be built on the same 6-acre property. 

Buddy Frank, a Crestone resident, learned about the proposed project from a customer at his body shop the day before the July 28 Planning Commission meeting. 

“There is no transparency in this situation,” Frank told 13 Investigates. “Everything is opaque and it’s being done behind the scenes.” 

The Crestone resident was never informed by the Land Use Commission of the proposed project. Land Use Administrator Wilson says they sent out certified letters to all property owners within 2,500 feet as is required. The Crestone community, with a population of 44 people in 2020 according to United States Census, is more than 2 miles away from the site of proposed cell tower. 

Despite potentially bringing better cell service to the area, Frank says the cell phone tower entirely goes against what the Crestone community is all about. 

“The ethos this community was created on was inconvenience is a virtue,” Frank said. “We recognize that we are at the end of the road (in Crestone). We didn’t desire the services that a regular town has. I’m not saying other communities should make our choices. These are the choices Crestone has made, and we made them for decades.” 

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Dan Beedie

Dan is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about Dan here.

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