PUTNEY -- AT&T and its attorney have submitted an application to the Vermont Public Service Board on Monday, a few weeks after the Putney Selectboard and Planning Commission decided not to support a proposed plan for a temporary cell tower.
The Selectboard and Planning Commission each voted on Wednesday, Sept. 18, to reject AT&T's proposal and not recommend approval of the project to the PSB. AT&T, according to New England spokesman Will Keyser, wants to erect an 85-foot tower to fill in a coverage gap in the area until a permanent tower can be developed.
AT&T is being represented by attorney Elizabeth Kohler of Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC.
AT&T wants the tower to stand across the street from Basketville along Route 5 for 18 months, but could not promise the tower would come down if a permanent location was not found by the end of that period. Putney Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard said the application acknowledges some of the town's requests, and suggests a different location on the site and imposing an 18-month limit on how long it could remain there.
Susan Hudson, the clerk of the board at the PSB, told the Reformer that a 21-day period for public comments started on Monday and if no issues are raised, the board has 60 days from the date of the application's filing to review and act on it. She said the PSB can approve AT&T's proposal even though Putney shot it down.
The application states that AT&T holds a Certificate of Public Good to provide commercial mobile radio services within the borders of Vermont in accordance with multiple licenses granted by the Federal Communications Commission. It also says the company is undertaking a project to expand its third- and fourth-generation mobile broadband network and enhance its wireless network in the state. The application proposes putting the tower at 7 Bellows Falls Road and says it is in compliance with all Vermont statutes.
Keyser said the PSB is the ultimate authority on this issue and is optimistic it will side with AT&T.
"We're hopeful that, because the application reflects significant feedback we got from town, the application will be approved," he said.
The temporary tower is intended to improve cell phone service in the village, and within a distance of about a half-mile.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.