NEWFANE -- After working hard to gain state approval to build communications towers in Newfane and Dover, AT&T will allow a different company to construct and maintain those structures.
The Vermont Public Service Board has approved amended certificates of public good for both projects to reflect a "partial transfer of ownership" from AT&T to American Towers LLC.
But state officials also say the change "will have no substantive impact on any of the findings" in the board's original approvals and "does not affect the board's conclusion."
AT&T, looking to improve its wireless coverage in southern Vermont, proposed a 139-foot-tall tower at 66 Oak Hill Road in South Newfane and a 140-foot tower at 285 Dover Hill Road in Dover.
The Newfane proposal generated the most controversy, with nearby residents expressing concerns about property values and town officials expressing consternation that the state's permitting process overrode local laws.
AT&T said no other potential site in Newfane provided the same level of coverage in the Dover Road corridor.
In March, the Public Service Board approved the project.
In Dover, AT&T agreed to move its proposed tower to a different part of the same property and to employ a "monopine" design to camouflage the structure.
State approval for that project came in June.
For both sites, the newly amended certificates of public good say American Towers "will be responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of the (tower) facility."
Boston-based American Towers is described as "an independent owner, operator and developer of wireless and broadcast communications real estate" that owns or manages more than 55,000 sites worldwide.
AT&T now expects to handle only the installation, operation and maintenance of its communications equipment at the sites, state documents show.
An AT&T spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
For the Dover site, the Public Service Board also notes that AT&T and American Towers "are proposing to change the location of the underground power and telecommunications utility lines at the request of the property owner in order to reduce interference with the existing access road."
"The board has determined that, based on AT&T's motion and accompanying information describing the proposed project revisions, the revisions do not constitute a substantial change to the originally approved project and, accordingly, do not require further proceedings," state officials wrote.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.