Is a wireless broadband tower coming to Halifax?


HALIFAX -- Selectboard member Edee Edwards plans on following up with the Public Service Board to find out whether the VTel tower proposed for Old County Road will definitely be moving forward.

The board received a letter from a representative of the PSB dated July 21, but Selectboard Chairman Lewis Sumner said the letter did not have any timeline for when the project might begin.

"Our attorney was supposed to read it and see if it was all right," he added.

The letter was referred to in a board meeting on Aug. 5. According to the minutes, the letter "indicates that the PSB counsel has reviewed the Halifax/Old County Road wireless broadband tower application and finding the project furthers state telecommunications and planning goals and presents no conflict with Section 248a criteria, recommends PSB issue an order approving the project without further investigation or hearing." The Section 248a criteria is looked at when determining whether a certificate of public good for communications facilities should be issued.

Edwards told the Reformer the letter was confusing to her and she did not fully understand it.

VTel had proposed a wireless broadband facility to be set up at 72 Old County Road. It would include a telecommunications pole and facility. A balloon test was conducted in January. Shortly after, the Selectboard sent a letter supporting the proposal.

As of Friday, Aug. 15, there was no certificate of public good issued for the project published on the PSB's website, where such notices are posted.

With her Broadband Committee hat on, Edwards brought up concerns about the structure of the tower and received approval from the Selectboard to draft a letter. It was the risk of the 90-foot tower collapsing that was worrisome to committee members.

"Ideally, I'd like to see it as a break-away tower," Edwards said at a committee meeting in July. "If VTel has not included that, I think we can respectfully request it."

The letter the Selectboard received indicated that the feedback on the structure was received but did not say whether the structure would change.

The application for the tower was filed with the PSB on June 30. The committee noted that the site was moved closer to the road so it would not affect a foundation where a schoolhouse was formerly located. Several people were concerned that the project would affect the schoolhouse, which many said has historical significance.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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