Rio Rancho residents upset with proposed cell tower

New Mexico

A plan to build a cell tower right in the middle of a growing neighborhood has neighbors ticked off. They believe there are plenty of other wide open spaces where it could go up.

“I thought it was ridiculous. Why would they want to put a cell tower in the middle of a residential neighborhood?” said Robert Beckerich.

Beckerich has been living in the same Rio Rancho neighborhood near Unser and Westside for six years. He’s been content with his life there until January.

Recently, the city of Rio Rancho received a proposal from Verizon Wireless to put a brand new cell tower in the middle of the neighborhood, to replace an old tower on the outskirts of the area.

“It’s an eyesore in a nice residential,” said Beckerich.

The city denied Verizon’s request, stating the company failed to show the tower was structurally sound and failed to prove the proposed location is the only option. “You’ve got a mesa that goes out for 10 miles. Why can’t you put it out there?” Beckerich said.

Verizon isn’t going down without a fight. The company filed an appeal, saying this is the only option to give the best coverage to customers.

Beckerich says he doesn’t buy it. He believes the cell tower will drive down property values, and keep people from moving in. “You obviously want the view of the mountains. What it will do is there are several lots to the west of it. They’ll be useless. No one will buy those lots,” he said.

However, Beckerich has some neighbors who think a new cell tower wouldn’t be such a bad idea. “Consistently calls will drop or where you can’t get data coverage,” said Jedidiah Thacker.

Beckerich says if the city ends up allowing this cell tower to be built, he and his neighbors will consider filing a lawsuit against the city.

The Rio Rancho city council will hear Verizon’s appeal this Wednesday and should make a decision that night.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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