A revision to Warren's land use and development regulations could mean increased cellular reception in the Sugarbush Village residential district following town officials' approval of a minor boundary modification on Tuesday, April 13.
Select board members voted in favor of an amendment to revise the land use provisions to promote co-location of new antennas on existing towers by streamlining the review and application process.
Select board chair Andy Cunningham told attendees at Tuesday's public
hearing that the purpose of the amendment was to "facilitate the use of
cell phone reception in The Valley, which if you live here, you know is
Cunningham said that cellular phone companies would like to put a permanent tower at the top of Sugarbush Village Road; the tower would replace the current temporary tower located in the 22-acre site on Inferno Road.
"I'm assuming it's going to be a lot better after this," he continued.
The amendment essentially allows the boundary line of the Sugarbush residential district to be modified to accommodate new cellular antennas on or within existing tower locations by streamlining the review process for similar applications.
Cunningham said that the installation of a new tower at the top of Sugarbush Village Road may increase reception in the village area but is unlikely to account for any change or increase in reception along the Route 100 corridor.
The boundary adjustment will make the forest reserve district larger, according to engineers from Verizon Wireless. The immediate reason for the change is that the land that is currently at the boundary of the two districts, while it is zoned for towers, is actually in bear habitat.
@SUBHEAD = STREAMLINE
Engineers were present to ask the select board to move the boundary line down a couple hundred feet so the towers are outside the bear habitat; in addition, engineers said they were asked to consult town officials at the urging of the town's zoning administrator to streamline the process.
The idea, according to engineers, is that once there is coverage from the proposed site at the ski area, there will be a second site built on an existing building in the village. Under the current zoning, a tower could not be built on that site.
Cunningham said that the "select board is behind this, the planning commission has looked at it, the zoning administrator has spoken with us about it and we're tuned into what's going on."
"It's always good to see better communications," he continued.
When asked about the potential range of the new tower, engineers told town officials that the original design is pretty limited to the ski area; the new tower will cover most of the access road down to Route 100 but will not cover the Warren area due to terrain block.
Representatives from Verizon said that they are investigating the possibility of using a repeater at the Warren Village church site or looking into a micro site solution, but the assessment cannot be made until they can evaluate the coverage from the proposed tower in Sugarbush Village.
Engineers told select board members that they plan on filing the application shortly and have several abutters to notify beforehand.