Marlboro cell tower meeting set for Monday


MARLBORO -- The Selectboard and Planning Commission will hold a special information session Monday to give the public a chance to learn more about a proposal by AT&T to erect a 140-foot cell tower on Snow Mountain, just north of Route 9 near Hamilton Road.

The meeting is planned for April 14, at 7 p.m. at the Marlboro Elementary School Junior High Room.

AT&T wants to get a certificate of public good from the Public Service Board for the tower, which will be located on a 33-acre parcel owned by CMR Developments, LLC.

The company said the tower will extend its 4G LTE service that can provide download speeds up to 58 megabytes per second, and is designed to interconnect with other existing AT&T sites.

Along with the tower, AT&T hopes to build an 11-by-20-foot equipment shed with a 50-kilowatt backup generator.

Representatives from AT&T and from NBC, LLC, the company that plans to build the tower, will be at the meeting.

AT&T Spokesman Will Keyser said the company was looking forward to Monday’s meeting.

"This will be our first opportunity to gather feedback from the community on this proposal," Keyser said. "The goal of the proposed tower is to provide coverage along Route 9, an area that has little or no current coverage and that has been designated as a target corridor by the state."

Before companies petition the PSB, abutters and the town government have to be informed, and the project is still in the pre-application period. While the final determination on the project is made by the PSB, the town is encouraged to weigh in on the proposal.

Selectboard Chairman Pieter van Loon said the board has not yet taken a formal vote on the plan.

The meeting was scheduled to hear from AT&T, but van Loon said the board is also interested in hearing from residents.

"One of the main reasons for holding the meeting is to get public input," van Loon said. "The board has not made a decision whether to support it or not."

The Windham Regional Commission Project Review Committee has looked over the proposal, and according to Senior Planner John Bennett the committee wants AT&T to consider building a shorter tower.

The Windham Regional Commission Project Review Committee is made up of members from throughout the 27 towns in the WRC area.

Bennett said the tower will be located within an area that was heavily logged and the structure, according to the plan, will extend more than 80 feet above the tree canopy

"The committee was concerned abut the 140-foot-height," he said. "There were concerns about the aesthetic impact."

AT&T wants to install a cell tower, but Bennett said WRC wants to see photos of what a monopine facility would look like.

Marlboro Planning Commission Chairman Matt Tell said the commission is also seeking input from the public before weighing in on the application. Tell said the town has until April 27 to issue a response to the plan.

Generally, he said, Marlboro residents are eager to get better cell and broadband coverage.

Marlboro has some of the largest pockets in the state without service and the Vermont Telecommunications Authority said Route 9 should be considered a target corridor for the general absence of reliable cell and wireless broadband Internet service.

"I think a lot of people in town say they want better service and the town feels it is needed for business and for public safety," Tell said. "I don’t think anyone wants a gazillion towers, but we want the whole town covered. We want more information and we want to see what the town’s people have to say."


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