Friday, September 21, 2001
Tests of cell tower sites requested
Town administrator Madonna McKenzie asked the selectmen on September 11 to authorize a request that Sprint and other telecom companies perform tests on the following town-owned land parcels to determine suitability for locating cell towers:
· DPW and fire station crane tests
· Conant Land balloon test
· Malcolm Land parking lot
(crane test) and site (balloon test)
· Gage Wood Lot balloon test
· Hart Farm Parcel X balloon test
The tests consist of sending up a balloon or lifting a crane bucket to measure signal interference. At the same time, photos of the balloon or crane can give some sense of the future visibility of a cell tower. The crane test is more accurate; the balloon test is less invasive.
McKenzie said there are concerns with targeting the Malcolm Land for a cell tower. While there is no conservation restriction on the deed, it was intended to have a conservation restriction. As a result, ConsCom may mount a challenge. Other sites have been checked and are not under conservation controls.
Selectman Vivian Chaput raised the issue that Foss Farm was not being considered as a possible site. McKenzie explained that Foss Farm is under federal, state, and local conservation controls. "It would require a unanimous vote of the conservation commission, a 2/3 vote at Town Meeting, a 2/3 vote of both state legislatures, and a 2/3 vote at the federal level" to gain approval to erect a cell tower on that parcel. Pressed by Chaput, she added, "It would also require approvals from all those entities just to do the testing."
The request for testing was approved. Test dates will be announced so townspeople can see how visible the towers would be.
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