AT&T has identified Thetford Center, VT as a desirable location for a new cell tower but the town is not quite on board. Better coverage is needed, reports Valley News, for the local First Responder Network Authority, FirstNet who has plans for a 190-foot cell tower with a five-foot lightning rod on top.
If approved, the tower would occupy a 2,500 square foot gravel lot approximately half a mile off the main road. The tower is part of a larger project to build out the FirstNet network in the state. Still in the planning stages, the cell tower has generated a torrent of comments shared on electronic formats.
Planning Commission member Dean Whitlock took a cautionary view, saying, “We’re aware of the need [for better cell coverage], I just don’t feel that a 190-foot tower with a lightning rod on top is the way to go about it.”
However, before construction can begin, AT&T will conduct a balloon test to anticipate the needed tower height. There’s an airport nearby, which would need to operate in harmony with the tower. There is also a town ordinance limiting cell tower heights to no more than 20 feet above the treeline. Those opposing the tower’s presence were quick to cite the local ruling, asserting that it should be followed.
“I oppose the tower and feel it will be an eyesore,” resident Kevin Llewellyn commented. “Is this what we want – a ridiculously high communications tower?”
“Seeing that everyone has cell phones now, it’s greatly needed,” countered resident Eileen Howard. “You can’t have something for nothing,” she added. Howard further suggested that better coverage was worth the sacrifice.
Police chief Michael Evan expressed no preference, merely stating, “We just have to wait and see.”