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Home Working with Section 106 ACHP Case Digest Fall 2004 New Mexico: Construction of a Wireless Telecommunication Tower, Taos
New Mexico: Construction of a Wireless Telecommunication Tower, Taos
Agency: Federal Communications Commission
Earlier this year, members of Taos Pueblo, a New Mexican Indian tribe, asked the ACHP to join them and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in discussions over a wireless telecommunication tower near their village.
The Pueblo of Taos, Taos, New Mexico (photo: NPS)
The tribe says that the 195-foot lattice-style structure has adversely affected properties eligible for listing in the National Register, including the pueblo itself. The Pueblo of Taos is a National Historic Landmark and World Heritage Site, and the vicinity is a significant cultural landscape.
The towers owner, Vertical Real Estate, LLC, who built the tower in 2001 without FCC approval, has applied for a permit from FCC to add collocation antennae to the structure.
After the company built the tower, it learned of FCCs Section 106 responsibilities and initiated consultation under the Section 106 process. The company immediately ordered archeological studies. The New Mexico State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and Taos Pueblo, however, were not contacted until several months after the company built the tower.
In October 2003, FCC issued a Preliminary No Adverse Effect Finding for purposes of consulting with Taos Pueblo. In March 2004, the SHPO told FCC that the tower has an adverse effect on historic cultural landscapes and possibly on a Traditional Cultural Property.
The following month, the ACHP notified FCC that, in response to Taos Pueblos request, the agency would participate in consultation. The consulting parties in the case held several conference calls, the last of which included discussions on the possibility of relocating the tower or shortening its height to lessen the visual effect on the vicinity.
Among other issues, the case has raised confidentiality concerns: For
religious reasons, Taos Pueblo is reluctant to divulge all of the information
requested of them regarding the properties and values involved in the
case. The consulting parties are continuing their negotiations in an attempt
to resolve the issues surrounding this case.
Staff contact: Alan
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