The Plumas County Planning Commission is working on a draft telecommunications ordinance during its regular board meetings, and it is creating a positive effect for cell phone coverage in Plumas County.
In an effort to avoid the permitting fees that will be established through the county’s finalized telecommunications ordinance, AT&T and Verizon are putting in six new telecommunications towers throughout the county before the ordinance goes into effect.
Plumas County Planning Department Director Randy Wilson said at the commission meeting Feb. 1 that this was an uncommon number of towers to come in at one time, but he was not surprised by the sudden action by the companies.
“I think they are trying to put them in before this ordinance goes into place,” said Wilson.
The priority of the planning commission has been the completion of a draft telecommunications ordinance as outlined in the county’s general plan. The ordinance would regulate the size and location of telecommunications towers. The draft ordinance also outlines permitting requirements and fees, and height and setback requirements.
Currently, telecommunications companies do not have to go through a permitting process and only have to obtain building permits to install new towers. The regulations will change when the ordinance is passed, which is motivating quick action amongst the companies.
The additional six new towers would increase broadband access drastically throughout the county. The new towers will be installed in locations where there is little to no coverage already. Pending the completion of the building permit process, new towers are going to be installed in the Chilcoot, La Porte, Cromberg, Greenhorn Ranch, Hamilton Branch and Beckwourth areas.
Wilson also said the planning department is monitoring the installation of the towers to make sure they are in line with the draft ordinance, to avoid conflicts in the future.
“This is good news,” said Wilson. “ The county really needs the coverage.”