Neighbors oppose Verizon cell tower in residential area | KOB 4
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Neighbors oppose Verizon cell tower in residential area

Brittany Costello
September 10, 2019 10:44 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Some residents are opposing a 75-foot Verizon Wireless cell tower that has been proposed to move near 21st Avenue in Rio Rancho. 

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People took those concerns to the city Tuesday to try to see if anything can be done.

The Planning and Zoning Board does not have the final say in this but it agreed Tuesday, there is not enough information to recommend it to City Council.

It has been an ongoing debate since December 2018 when it was first brought to the city

Matt Ehrhardt is a resident that lives the closest to the development. He said the cell tower should not be build in an area zoned for residential development.

“This is not the wild, wild west. We're setting a precedent here about what Rio Rancho will or will not allow in the neighborhood. Let’s not diminish the value of the neighborhood,” Ehrhardt said. 

Ehrhardt is not the only resident who shares that opinion.

“We feel that it’s our responsibility to inform potential buyers that there is a cell tower that is going up and right when I say that it kills the deal,” said Andrew Johannsen, a man who owns some plots of land near the area.

The current cell tower in northwest Albuquerque will need to find a new home by 2020, according to the Verizon Wireless acquisition company, General Dynamics Wireless Services.

It’s currently on a water tower near McMahon. A spokesperson for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority did confirm on Tuesday, without specifying that specific tower, that some leases for wireless providers will not be renewed. A spokesperson attributed the change to security reasons.

Sean Milks, the owner of Gravity Pad, who would build the tower, said this is the best location.

“We have looked at every single possible commercial property,” Milks said. “It's not our decision to make on whether or not it works or not. There is multiple sights that it has to hand off to.”

The debate has been back and forth since December, and on Tuesday it appeared not much has changed.

Commissioners and neighbors both agreed that they don’t have enough proof the group has exhausted all the commercial zoning options available in the area.

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Brittany Costello

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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