by Jennifer Parker
LA VETA- Concerned citizens hosted a rally last Wednesday at Ricky Tim’s Quilt Studio in hopes of educating the public on what the infamous 180 ft. cell phone tower will really mean, not only for La Veta, but also for the county. Although no County Commissioners attended the meeting, four members of the Planning and Zoning Committee were present: Myrna Falk, Dale Davis, Lewis Edmundson, and Max Vezzani. The committee was taking written comments from citizens.
Longtime resident, Doug Brgoch, gave a heartfelt presentation on preserving this area’s natural beauty. Brgoch informed the crowd that the Spanish Peaks are designated a natural national landmark with there being only around 600 in the United States, and that years ago, the Denver Post counted the Peaks as one of the “Seven Wonders of Colorado.” Brgoch added, “The Spanish Peaks are recognized widely and internationally. Would they still have the same reputation with a cell phone tower distorting the view?”
For those who may not have been able to visually comprehend what a 180 ft. tower would look like from the town, Keli Kringel gave an impressive slide show showing views from around town that depicted how visible the tower would be from different areas. Kringel was able to perform the simulation by balloon testing. She was able to measure the height and then fly a red balloon at the 180 ft. mark. Kringel also created a blog site for La Veta with information as well as pictures to be viewed by those who have not seen how massive the tower could be. That address is lavetaco.blogspot.com. Kringel referred to her presentation as a visual simulation.
Another involved citizen was Chip Kraynyk who focused on issues regarding the Land Use Guide, which was created in 1999. “The tower would clearly be in violation of the Land Use Guide because of scenic conservation issues.” The question is, will Commissioners uphold this ordinance? There will be a Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on September 23rd where the group will recommend approval, approval with conditions or denial to the Commissioners. More details as well as an excerpt from the Land Use Guide can be found on the blog site.
From an artistic point of view, painters have been painting the Spanish Peaks for over 150 years. A local artist spoke of how the beauty of this area would be compromised and that we should protect what is ours.
Kringel emphasized, “We are not against cell phone service, we just want a smarter solution.” She also added, “La Veta is an uncluttered gem and will only increase in value with time.” The bottom line seems to be that La Veta is widely recognized for its scenic beauty. Should that be compromised when there clearly seems to be a financially beneficial alternative which is to add panels to the water tanks? Going that route would generate revenue of about $18,000 a year in rent from carriers for the town.
One citizen spoke up during the rally and stated, “This seems like a no-brainer. What is it going to take to stop this?” The town of La Veta voted unanimously, opposing the cell phone tower. This group has done their homework and are ready for a debate.