AT&T amends Putney cell tower plan


PUTNEY -- AT&T has made adjustments to a plan for a proposed cell tower at 20 Shag Bark Hill Road, and the company is coming back to Putney to seek the town's support for the project.

A meeting has been set up for March 11, at 5:30 p.m. at the Putney Fire Station to give AT&T representatives a chance to explain the changes and ask the Selectboard and Development Review Board to support the proposal.

AT&T wants to build a 140-foot cell tower on the rural road and is expected to file a petition for a certificate of public good with the Public Service Board.

The company has already held at least three meetings in Putney, and AT&T has received universal disapproval from neighbors who say they do not want the tower near their homes.

The company now plans to locate the tower at least 200 feet away from surrounding property lines, meeting requirements of Putney zoning rules.

The property owner has agreed to preserve the tree coverage within the buffer.

Before the tower is built, AT&T will stake out the tower location, though the owner is requesting that anyone ask him before entering the property.

AT&T also says it is going to locate the generator within the compound it wants to build in the site, mitigating the noise neighbors were concerned about.

According to the revised plan filed with the town last week, the sound of the generator "equates to the average sound level of a vacuum cleaner or residential lawn mower."

"We have listened to the feedback we received on the original proposal and made significant changes," AT&T Spokesman Will Keyser said. "We take the public input very seriously as part of the process. We hope that when we discuss these changes at the March 11 meeting they will be viewed favorably by the community."

AT&T will be filing its petition with the Public Service Board under section 248a, and the company does not need the town's approval to build the tower, as long as the PSB issues the certificate of public good.

But the company is trying to get the Selectboard and the Development Review Board to sign off on the project.

AT&T held a similar series of meetings last year when it wanted to put up a temporary tower in the center of Putney. That temporary tower did not meet local zoning regulations, and the town did not support the application.

The petition was filed with the PSB without the town's support and AT&T did get a certificate of public good for the temporary tower, which is currently in use.

However, the temporary tower has to come down in the next year or two and AT&T said it needs the Shag Bark Hill Road tower to continue to provide service in the area.

Keyser said AT&T engineers have been working with the property owner since the last meeting to come up with a new plan that addresses the concerns of the neighbors.

He said there were specific challenges in moving the tower back, but the new plan should do a better job of providing the company with the area it needs for the tower while shielding the view and noise from abutters.

"Our goal when siting a tower is to always work as closely as possible with the community so we find a location everybody can be happy with," he said. "That does not always happen, but we always do our best to work toward that goal. We always want to make sure that we have done everything we can to work with the community before activating the permitting process.

The full AT&T prefiling package is available at Town Hall.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.


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