Teton County considers a hold on new cell towers

Sep 13, 2013

Credit Scott Beale / Creative Commons

Teton County's commissioners are seeking new regulations on cell phone towers in the county due to concerns that new towers could impede scenic views.


In the meantime, they’re considering a moratorium on all applications for new towers.


AT&T director of external affairs, Cheryl Riley says, however, that the proposed hold on new applications would violate the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which says that local governments cannot “prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the provision of personal wireless services.”


“We look forward to being part of the process, we just feel like a moratorium is gonna halt progress,” said Riley. “We think that we can work through the code revisions without an actual moratorium.”


County commissioners have hired Florida based telecommunications consulting firm CityScape to assist in the analysis of the situation. CityScape president, Richard Edwards says that the county wants to take the time that a freeze on applications would allow to insure that the height and placement of new towers are properly regulated and that the iconic landscapes for which Teton County is known remain undisturbed.


County Commission chair Paul Vogelheim says the commission is not opposed to new towers, but just wants some protections.

“We have a balancing act here in Teton County that’s kind of unique,” says Vogelheim. “We need to take care of cellular and wireless data needs but then we also need to be able to provide the scenic wonders that are here without it being at all compromised.”

County commissioners will hold their vote on the moratorium on Monday.