Williamstown ZBA Wants Expert Testimony in Person on Cell Tower Issue
After a year of hearings, community forums and consultations with the town's third-party peer reviewer, the Zoning Board of Appeals wants one more opportunity to clarify the key issue on a proposed cell tower at the junctions of Routes 2 and 7.
iBerkshires.com reports the board decided Thursday to continue its public hearing into May in order to arrange for a personal appearance by Walter Cooper of Williamsburg, Va., who has been the town's consultant throughout Verizon Wireless' application to erect a monopole tower at 1161 Cold Spring Road, in the parking lot behind the former Taconic Restaurant.
After more than two hours of testimony on Thursday, the ZBA voted 5-0 to ask Cooper to discuss his disagreement with Verizon's radio frequency engineer about how many "small cell" nodes could be mounted on utility poles to eliminate a 2.8-mile coverage gap in the area.
Verizon is on record as saying that it does not believe the small cell solution is one the company would be willing to consider.
iBerkshires.com reports residents near the proposed tower site have been pushing the board to deny the application, arguing that the proposed tower would harm an important viewshed and that Verizon is exaggerating the extent of the coverage gap.
Cooper's most recent letter to the town, dated March 13, accepted the 2.8-mile coverage gap but questioned the number of "small cell" units that would be required to fill it. Cooper said that five or six "nodes" could do the job, rather than the 26 Verizon has cited.