Cellular One applied for a conditional use permit (CUP) to build a cell phone/EMS tower with co-location capabilities plus a variance for the tower to stand at 180-feet tall, 80 feet beyond the maximum height allowed, reported the White Mountain Independent. The tower is needed to improve service in an area where dropped calls occur, including EMS and 911 calls.
The proposed tower site is located in the back of a parking lot behind an existing garbage enclosure. The property is zoned R-Low (Residential, Low Density), noted the Independent. According to Community Development Director Cody Blake, several sites were vetted but did not meet the accessibility requirements needed for tower maintenance.
Blake added that residents within 400 feet of the tower location were notified via letter of the project. Two emails opposing the tower and one letter “okaying” it were received, said Blake.
Dennis Baker of Cellular One noted that the taller tower is necessary since smaller flag poles installed around town prior to 2007, are no longer viable due to changing technology. “AT&T FirstNet is pushing us out of those flag poles,” said Baker.
The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the CUP with the caveat that other locations be explored before the council’s July 2 meeting. Also, the facility must have a split-fenced concrete block wall to fence in the area. Cellular One is also required to plant trees to screen the wall and move an existing Frisbee golf basket to a new location.
The commission will enter into a five-year lease agreement with Cellular One with a renewability option totaling $800 per month in revenue paid to the town.