As the town of Warren continues to finalize its new land use and development regulations (LUDRs), the issue of the new telecommunications regulations has come before the select board and planning commission. The topic has been widely discussed in Warren over the last several months following Verizon’s notice that it intended to file an application for a 140-foot cell tower 70 feet above the tree line on Airport Road (Verizon appears to have abandoned the project). But the notice brought the issue to the table of where towers can be constructed in Warren and how high/visible they can be. The Warren Residents for Responsible Cell Tower Siting and Development was born and has been vocal in their concerns regarding the new regs on telecommunications facilities.



The group engaged with attorney Brooke Dingledine to draft proposed amendments to the LUDRs to be more specific about where cell towers are permitted and where they are not. Among the considerations is prohibiting telecommunications facilities from being built “in prominently visible ridgelines and hilltops.” That amendment in particular was a topic of discussion at the planning commission’s March 13 meeting with the town’s select board. Dingledine was present on Zoom, as was John Egan, who has been a vocal member of the Warren Residents for Responsible Cell Tower Siting and Development. “The revisions are intended to put back some protections that had been in place before,” Egan said.

The select board sent the proposed amendments to the town’s attorney, Nick Lowe, who was unable to attend Monday’s meeting due to illness but had sent his comments to the board. Select board chair Luke Youmell said they were unable to provide The Valley Reporter with Lowe’s comments as it was legal advice provided to the board and not available to the public. From the discussion, it sounded like Lowe thought some of the proposed language was redundant or unnecessary.

“In terms of what [Lowe] told you, ‘Oh, don’t bother,’ that’s very troubling to me,” Dingledine said, citing a Bennington case where the Vermont Supreme Court upheld a decision using the same language Dingledine has proposed for Warren. “To suggest the PUC doesn’t care about it ignores the standard decided by the PUC and upheld by the Supreme Court,” she said.


“The PUC looks at this for the greater good of people in Vermont,” select board member Bob Ackland said. “If we go too far the PUC might say this is really good for Vermont, you just don’t want this in your backyard.”

“I’m not against cell towers at all,” resident Win Smith said. “What we’re talking about here is responsible growth. It’s very important that we’re prepared. The PUC has the power to override us but there’s precedent that they’d listen to us.”

“All I was trying to do is preserve the protections you already have [in the current LUDRs] but tighten them up,” Dingledine said. “It gives you local control to express your opinion about it.”

“There are a few things we need to think about. The main one is the scenic view aspect. We need to get together and decide what iconic scenic views are,” said planning commission chair Jim Sanford.

“I think the select board is going to have to have a work session to look at what our revisions are going to be,” select board member Devin Klein Corrigan said. “I think using Nick’s comments will be very helpful.”

The discussion on the proposed changes to the LUDRs will continue at a future meeting.