Red River Council approves tower permit, hears broadband news

By Michael Ritterhouse Staff writer

RED RIVER – Tuesday’s (Oct.28) council meeting was highlighted by updates from representatives of Kit Carson Telecom and Commnet on their respective fiber optic internet and cell phone tower projects.

Kit Carson Broadband Update

Nadine Varela and David Branchal of Kit Carson Telecom updated town council on the installation of broadband fiber optic lines in the town. Project Manager Nadine Varela said that the main line installation is 75 percent complete and she estimated completion near the end of November.  Kit Carson anticipates that aerial drops (installations)in Red River will continue through the winter.  Each drop team will be accompanied by a splicing team to install service up to the exterior of businesses and residences.   

“We are trying to hire more drop crews,” Varela said.

Calhoun asked Varela to address council and citizen concerns regarding repairs to the cut-up roads, especially considering the oncoming winter.

 “They will repair the road to the way they were, if not better,” Calhoun said.  Varela confirmed Calhoun’s statement.

Commnet Cell Tower Special Use Permit

Council conditionally approved a special use permit application by Commnet Four Corners to build a cell tower that looks like a flagpole despite a letter of objection written by Red River resident Chris Peterson.  Peterson wrote, “(t)he last thing we need is … a gigantic pole topped with a flag and a light.”

Commnet Four Corners, a telecom/wireless communications provider submitted the request for a special use permit to construct a “stealth” cell phone tower under the guise of a flagpole. The tower is planned to replace a temporary cell tower site on wheels. Commnet had placed the temporary tower at the unmanned Conoco gas station at the intersection of N.M. 38 and N.M.578 when the two out of town sites had capacity issues. Commnet representative Kristen Hubbard explained the tower is going to fly an American flag that will be replaced when it becomes worn.

The entire facility will be surrounded by a six foot cedar fence.  

The representatives indicated that the installation will require a 10-12 day down time with the goal of a Thanskgiving completion.

The Planning and Zoning Commission had conditionally approved the recommendation.  The conditions were a topographic and geomorphologic study completed and approved by the town’s engineering firm, lighting the flag in compliance with the town’s night sky ordinance and a performance security bond.  The study and lighting plan had been submitted and were pending approval and the security bond was promised to be purchased.  

The council approved the conditional request without comment.

Uniform Traffic Ordinance

The town council brought up for discussion an update to the uniform traffic ordinance to which the town adheres that would restrict drivers from reading or typing texts while driving.  The vote was tabled due to lack of quorum.