Telecoms plan to more than double the number of 5G towers in Denver, but they can’t build near trees, according to some residents. So if homeowners plant trees, they’ll keep towers out, right? Not exactly, according to city officials.
The Denver Post reported that hundreds of new small cells are inevitable for the rights-of-way in Denver’s neighborhoods, and the city has little control over their siting. According to Cynthia Karvaski, a spokesperson for the parks department, small cells can’t be built within 15 to 25 feet of a tree, depending on the plant’s size. However, the rule only holds for older, established trees.
If a small cell is planned for a specific plot, city officials won’t permit the planting of a tree, Karvaski added. Also, if young trees are obstructing a proposed tower site, those trees may be relocated, she said.
These tree-planting rumors circulate from time to time, reported the Post, around neighborhood meetings, and on social media. Some Denver residents are concerned about health issues linked to the towers, noise pollution, and the unsightliness of the infrastructure, and look for ways to combat small cells near their homes.
Heather Burke of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure said that five companies are allowed to build small cells in Denver: Verizon, Zayo, Crown Castle, AT&T, and Mobilitie. To date, 163 small cells have been constructed, and 419 more are on the horizon. Burke added that more than 1,600 co-located antennas are either under review, pending construction, or have already been built.