AT&T loses fight to build cell phone tower in Rio Rancho

Posted at: 08/28/2013 10:28 PM
Updated at: 08/29/2013 10:10 AM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

On Wednesday night, Rio Rancho city council voted 4-3 to decline an appeal by AT&T to build a cell phone tower in Sabana Heights Park in Corrales Heights.

The tower would have been a 65-foot clock tower near a neighborhood playground and in the line of view of the Sandia Mountains.

"Everybody driving down this street to look at a house in this area is gonna see this monstrosity blocking their view and the view is what everybody's here for," Charles Fiedler said.

At a hearing in June, planning and zoning approved cell towers in Sugar Park and Rio Vista Park but vetoed the one in Corrales Heights after 140 neighbors complained.

Tonight, AT&T appealed that decision and presented changes based on neighbor concerns.

They'd make the tower shorter and less wide, but gave no wiggle room on location.

"We were trying to accommodate the residents' concerns about the size and it interrupting their views and we want to take that into consideration, but we really do have to have a tower somewhere," AT&T spokeswoman Karen Kruse said.

AT&T says other locations weren't leasable, weren't feasible or didn't provide enough new coverage.

But neighbors say there has to be somewhere else.

"You can see the Balloon Fiesta field, you can watch the mountain, there are people that walk, take their dogs. That's just gonna be in the way," Jane Fiedler said.