Park County: Public Meeting on New Cell Tower Near Wapiti
Written by Andrew-Rossi on November 2, 2022
The proposed 195-foot tower would provide wireless service for several carriers in the Wapiti Valley but would also be a noticeable fixture along the North Fork Highway.
The Park County Planning and Zoning Commission is hosting a public hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 16. At this hearing, the Board will consider a special use permit for Horizon Tower, L.L.C., to erect a new cell tower in the Wapiti Valley near the North Fork Highway.
According to the proposal, the Horizon Green Creek Tower would provide “Major Utility Use,” accommodating four subtenants or carriers. While the footprint would be relatively small (3,600 square feet – about 2/3 of a basketball court), the tower would rise to 195 feet.
The location of the proposed tower is a 30-acre plot of land owned by Tamara Young. That property – a General Rural 5-Acre (GR-5) zoning district – is located along Green Creek Road, not far from U.S. Highway 14 and within shouting distance of the iconic Smith Mansion.
A nearly 200-foot structure tower over the Wapiti Valley will ignite concern and controversy amongst its residents.
The North and South Forks of the Shoshone River are sparsely populated – and fiercely defended. Landowners along the Forks work to preserve as much of the area as possible from development to preserve the landscape and wildlife habitat.
The Wapiti Valley Preservation Group (W.V.P.G.) is “a member-supported nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to protecting the natural and cultural resources of the greater Wapiti Valley.” All the available information on the cell tower is already posted on the group’s website. They assess that the profile of the tower’s 12 antennas will be equivalent to hanging two school buses from the top.
A YouTube video created by the W.V.P.G. shows a mockup of the tower at its intended location.
There’s a precedent for legal battles over cell towers – and Park County won the last case that made it to the Wyoming Supreme Court.
In August 2022, the Wyoming Supreme Court resolved the Jolovich v. Board of County Commissioners of Park County. The court ruled in favor of the Park County Commissioners, allowing T.C.T. to construct a 150-foot cell tower on property owned by George Farms.
James Jolovich sued the county, saying he wanted the tower relocated and shortened. He said the height and location of the tower would obstruct his view of Heart Mountain and create electrical fields that would negatively impact his health.
The Supreme Court “affirmed the order of the district court affirming the judgment of the Board of County Commissioners of Park County approving Trial County Telephone Association, Inc.’s (T.C.T.) application for a special use permit to construct a 150-foot broadband communications tower in Park County. The court ruled that the Board did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in approving the application.”