The Santa Fe New Mexican is supporting the construction of a cell phone tower (“The cell phone tower is a necessity for life,” Our View, June 28), possibly disguised in one way or another, in the village of Cerrillos to provide AT&T cellular service in this area. Most, if not all, of the residents of Cerrillos are in favor of obtaining cell service in the village, and many spoke in favor of such a tower at the town hall meeting there on June 15. However, several points are lost in this discussion.
First, most of the public comment and editorial appear to be based on the assumption that Diamond Communications is proposing to build this tower to provide services to residents of Cerrillos. The purpose of building this tower is NOT to provide cellular service to the village of Cerrillos. Its goal is to provide additional coverage for AT&T’s entire network and expand its FirstNet service, a service that is not currently in use in Santa Fe County.
While Cerrillos’ neighbors could benefit from this tower (assuming they become AT&T customers or other operators lease space on the tower), marketing it as providing a service to Cerrillos is a tactic. intended to dull the opposition. Diamond / AT&T would attempt to build a tower there or nearby even though no one lived in Cerrillos, as AT&T is looking to expand its coverage.
As Diamond Communications Vice President Thomas Waniewski made clear during the public meeting, Diamond Communications is engaged in the construction of cell phone towers, either as a contractor for a major operator like AT&T, be alone. Diamond’s business model involves building appropriate towers in locations where they can maximize leasing space to as many carriers as possible. In this case, to support this business model, Diamond Communications will request a waiver to build a tower more than twice as tall as local regulations allow (a height limit of 24 feet is the code at Cerrillos) so that Diamond can provide space on this tower for rent to other carriers.
Second, if providing cell service to the village of Cerrillos was truly the goal, no information was presented to suggest that Diamond Communications could not build a 24 foot tower in accordance with local regulations and visible to virtually anyone. what point of the village that would provide such a service. Such an approach would require no variation and could be achieved taking into account the historical nature of the community. During the public meeting, an important opportunity, Waniewski did not provide any information showing why a 24-foot-high tower would not provide cell service to the village of Cerrillos.
Finally, to be clear, Diamond is not only planning to request a waiver to build a tower taller than what local residents have approved, but the company is also seeking permission to build this tower in a regionally significant historic site registered in the United States. federal. The construction of this tower, even disguised as a water reservoir (a “water reservoir” adjacent to Cerrillos Hills State Park, ironically notable for being a New Mexico park without a lake, river, or other water resource ), would impact the views of this park and the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, and interfere with the view of the culturally significant Cerrillos Hills.
I prefer the village of Cerrillos to get cellular service – but not as a by-product of corporate business models that view our neighborhoods as underutilized acreage from which to make a profit. True “listening to the community” should lead to a solution that conforms to local building codes and the unique nature of this place.
Dennis Kurtz lives near Cerrillos and is president of the San Marcos association. His opinions expressed above are his own and do not necessarily represent the position of the association.