Telecom company proposes new towers in Marfa, Presidio
By CAMERON DODD
PRESIDIO COUNTY — More telecommunications antennae could soon pop up in the skylines of Marfa and Presidio. An international company is exploring the possibility of constructing 81-foot-tall steel monopoles topped on road sides in the middle of both Presidio County cities.
RESCOM Environmental Corporation ran a public notice in this newspaper last week asking public comments on two proposed “pole style telecommunications towers within existing road right-of-way” in Presidio and Marfa. The location for the Presidio tower is at the intersection of Bomar Ave. and Cassell Street, right behind Porters Thrift Way. In Marfa, the proposed location is at South Spring Street and San Antonio Street/U.S. 67/90, near the Pizza Foundation restaurant.
RESCOM is a consulting and compliance firm contracted to do environmental and historical surveys for infrastructure projects. Their client, the international telecommunications infrastructure company Mobilitie would construct and own the proposed towers.
Mobilitie’s plans for the two towers are detailed in schematics and renderings that RESCOM shared with the Presidio International / Marfa Big Bend Sentinel. The towers are both 75-foot-tall with an additional 6-foot antenna on top, for a total height of 81-feet. Both towers also feature a satellite dish protruding from their 20-foot mark.
Although Presidio already has a number of steel monopole transmission towers for cellular phone and internet service providers, Marfa’s skyline is relatively unmarked by towers. The construction of a silver Big Bend Telecom monopole antenna earlier this year generated controversy on social media. That tower is 145-feet-tall.
Mobilitie is not a service provider. Although they would build and own the towers, third party providers would contract with Mobilitie to transmit through them.
“Mobilitie does not offer wireless service but works with municipalities, as is the case with Marfa and Presidio, to add network capacity that is used by national wireless carriers to augment and improve the voice and data services they offer to residents and businesses in the area,” Mobilitie spokesperson Tim Klein said in an email. Mobilitie declined to disclose which service providers it is working with in Presidio and Marfa.
Representatives for the Mobilitie have met city officials to begin pursuing the proper permits for the towers. In Marfa, City Manager Jim Mustard said Mobilitie reached out to him months ago with general plans for their construction project but did not provide details of what services the tower would help expand.
The location of the Marfa tower, Mustard said, is zoned for structures up to 90 feet. So Mobilitie would not need a variance approved by the Board of Adjustments. Mustard speculated the company would want to enter into an operating agreement with the City of Marfa.
The proposed locations of the two towers are on existing road rights-of-way, between pavement and the nearest property lines.
Presidio and Marfa residents aware of any historic sites or structures that could be impacted by construction of 81-foot-tall towers at the proposed locations are encouraged to contact Andrew Smith at RESCOM Environmental Corp. at 260-385-6999.
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