PUTNEY -- The Selectboard and the Planning Commission have scheduled a public information session to discuss a proposed plan to site a permanent cell tower on Shag Bark Hill.
The two boards will meet on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Putney Fire Station to present more details on the project and collect public input.
An AT&T representative is expected to be at Thursday's meeting.
AT&T says it wants to erect a 130-foot mono-pine tower, which is built to look like a tree, on the hillside off of Old Route 5 behind the Putney Food Co-op. The company also will build a road to the site and install a permanent 75-by-75-foot compound for equipment for the tower.
As part of the company's petition to the Public Service Board for a certificate of public good for the tower, AT&T has given the town and property owners who abut the proposed site 45 days to comment on the plan before the petition is submitted.
Putney Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard said the Selectboard and the Planning Commission scheduled the joint public meeting to present more details about the tower, and also to gather input from Putney residents on the plan.
"AT&T has informed us that they intend to apply for a certificate of public of good for the tower at 20 Shag Bark Hill," Stoddard said. "We have 45 days to respond and we want to know what people feel about it."
Stoddard said AT&T conducted a balloon test last week and she hopes to have photos, maps and more details about the project at Thursday night's meeting. Some neighbors who live near the proposed site have already started to organize and plan to be at Thursday night's meeting to voice their opposition to the plan, but the Public Service Board has complete authority to approve or reject the application. Local zoning regulations, and even neighbor input, are only considerations the PSB has to weigh when deciding if the tower should be permitted on the private land.
AT&T is asking the Selectboard and the Planning Commission to support the application.
"AT&T is looking forward to hearing from the people of Putney about the proposed permanent site," said AT&T spokesman Will Keyser. "As we do in all instances, the input from the local community is valued and will be carefully considered."
Stoddard said she is not sure if the Selectboard and Planning Commission will hold their votes Thursday. She said she is going to recommend that the two boards reach an agreement on the plan and respond together.
Last year AT&T held a similar meeting when it was applying for a CPG for a temporary tower it has since erected across the street from Basketville. AT&T said it would take down the temporary tower if the Shag Bark Hill tower is approved.
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