By Lisa Loomis
Waitsfield has received an application from East Warren Road residents Peter and Christy Geyer to have a 65-foot-high telecommunications tower built on their property to provide an antenna for Warren radio station WMRW and to boost radio communications for the Waitsfield-Fayston Fire Department.
The development review board will hold a hearing on February 27 to consider the Geyer's request for a variance from the maximum height allowed in the agricultural/residential district. The maximum allowed height is 50 feet in that district and the applicants are seeking permission to put an additional 15-foot pole on top of the 50-foot-tall tower.
This proposal is not governed by the Vermont Public Service Board as broadband and cell towers are and is, therefore, subject to local regulations. Waitsfield's zoning allows telecommunications facilities as a conditional use in the ag/res district.
The application also calls for the construction of a small building (6 feet by 11 feet) at the base of the antenna. The applicants note, in the application, that the antenna will have a positive impact on community facilities as it will expand the range of WMRW and "allow the expansion of radio communications for the Waitsfield-Fayston Fire Department and possible other local public service entities which rely on radio communications."
In terms of how the tower would impact the character of the area, they noted that "It is believed that the antenna structure will more or less blend in with the background trees."
Their application also notes that they are requesting a 15-foot height variance so that the antenna structure would be 65 feet and significantly assist in radio transmissions. In the event the variance is denied, they would still like permission to build a 50-foot-high tower. They note that the 50-foot-high tower will use approximately double the amount of electricity as the taller tower.