MARLBORO -- A public meeting on a proposed cell tower that was called off last month due to a lack of information is now back on.
The Marlboro Selectboard and Planing Commission have scheduled the information session for Tuesday, June 15, at 5:30 p.m., at the Marlboro Elementary School.
Planning Commission Chairman Matt Tell said the town has been waiting for photos from a balloon test Verizon Wireless conducted at the proposed cell tower site on Central Mountain off of Auger Hole Road.
Tell said he expects to have those photos before Tuesday, and the Selectboard and Planning Commission will be seeking public comments on the proposed tower. He said neither the Selectboard nor the Planning Commission has decided how the town will vote on the project.
"We want to hear from the public before we take a stand," said Tell. "We want to hear how the public feels, and get a sense of what the community wants from whoever shows up for the meeting."
Both the Selectboard and Planning Commission will also hold public meetings to discuss the proposed tower following Tuesday’s meeting.
Verizon Wireless wants to build a 137-foot monopole telecommunications tower on land near Route 9 off of Auger Hole Road. The attorney representing Verizon did not return calls seeking comments. The company plans to ask the Public Service Board for a Certificate of Public Good to put up the tower on a high point at about 2,000 feet in elevation. If the company moves ahead with the project it will have to construct a new road up Central Mountain on the land, which is owned by Timothy and Madonna Racine. The project will also require a bridge across Bellows Brook.
Tell said he can see Central Mountain from his home.
He said the town has made it a priority to improve cell phone and broadband service in Marlboro, which is one of the most underserved towns in the state. But at the same time, as a Marlboro resident, Tell questioned whether this project was right for the town.
"We highly encourage cell coverage where it makes sense," he said. "We don’t encourage it where it doesn’t make sense. This cell tower is highly invasive to Central Mountain. It is a pretty big project for the area."
The Planning Commission and Selectboard have supported projects, with conditions, on Hogback Mountain and on Snow Mountain.
According to Verizon’s application the company needs the Central Mountain tower to extend service along the Route 9 corridor. Along with the tower Verizon wants to build a 50-square-foot compound with a 12-by-30 foot equipment shed surrounded by an eight-foot chain-link fence. Verizon will also be applying for a stream alteration permit and said it plans to install culverts and water bars to minimize disturbance to the existing slope, and check dams and silt fencing to control erosion during sand after construction.
The Public Service Board has the authority over the application, though the Selectboard and Planning Commission can weigh in and offer support or reject the plan.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.