On Nov. 5, Delta County Commissioners approved a waiver request made by the county planning department to take the development of six of eight proposed TDS towers out the standard Specific Development process and treat the project as a “minor development.” County policy allows any tower below 40 feet to be handled by planning staff requiring no public meeting, Planning Commission review or County Commissioner approval.
The eight towers proposed by TDS are, however, over this limit: three are 50 feet, four are 60 feet, and one is 70 feet. Citizen Report asked county contract planner, Kelly Yeager, for the grounds on which he based his decision to treat the proposed project as a minor development. Yeager responded that the towers where “all over the map” meaning that they were located in various places in Delta County.
A dozen residents interested in the TDS project attended the meeting. Several voiced concern about electric and magnetic field (EMF) emissions; one resident saying she might have to move if a proposed tower was placed close to her home. Another resident asked TDS representatives present at the meeting why the company was using old technology (poles with dishes) rather than the new fiberoptic technology. TDS staff replied that the company’s financial analysis of the project showed that a repeater set-up was their best proposal.
Shortly after the Commissioner meeting, TDS towers began springing up all over the county and municipalities —many under the 40 foot specific development limit and not detailed during the planning department’s presentation to Commissioners.
Several residents have lodged complaints with the County expressing frustration about the towers and a lack of public input.