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Derry

January 16, 2014

Derry could add cell tower to Rider property

DERRY — A cell tower could someday loom near town fields off Tsienneto Road.

Town councilors heard preliminary plans for a potential cell tower near Rider fields behind The Upper Room facility.

The tower, if approved, would be located about 100 feet behind the town’s water storage tank.

Representatives of AT&T contacted the town last fall with a request for a possible cell tower. The plan includes a diesel generator, telecommunications shelter and equipment, and a pole that could reach 150 feet.

Derry’s zoning doesn’t allow towers in that area. AT&T would have to come before the town’s Zoning Board to obtain a variance. The plan would also have to come before the Planning Board for site plan approval.

The lease would be for five years with automatic renewals for four additional five-year terms.

It’s early in the game, so councilors want more legal advice on the plan.

The town has other towers, with a few considered unattractive, especially one located near the Central Fire Station, Town Councilor Brad Benson said.

“The one at the fire station, it hurts the landscape of the village,” he said. “My only concern is that.”

Two towers were in place before Derry had any telecommunications restrictions in place, said George Sioras, the town’s planning and development director.

Others went through the entire approval process, but were never built.

Once the process begins, Sioras said, there would be much discussion on health risks, aesthetics and other things that might affect tower neighbors.

“They would have to prove that it’s necessary to put a tower in that area,” he said. “They have to prove their case.”

Many say cell phone service can be unreliable in that part of town, said deputy director of Public Works Tom Carrier.

Town Councilor Neil Wetherbee said he wants more information on the financial end of the tower deal before moving forward.

“I would be a little uneasy with the entire process before I cast a vote,” he said.

Twn Councilor Mark Osborne said having more cell towers doesn’t top his list.

“This isn’t consistent with my vision for Derry,” he said.

The tower plan will remain on the council’s agenda.

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