The 110-foot tall cell phone tower planned near Asbury Street will help increase cell phone service on the west side of Hamilton, helping add Verizon Wireless coverage at Pingree School, Bradley Palmer State Park and areas along Asbury and Highland streets, the project manager told the Hamilton Planning Board on Tuesday night.
A formal application for the proposed tower at 434 Asbury St. has not yet been submitted by Blue Sky Towers and Verizon Wireless to town officials, but the tower plan is already undergoing federal review and permitting.
The new tower would cover a 1 to 2-1/2 mile radius, said project manager James George, and may reach to the downtown area. The companies have yet to submit propagation maps showing the expected coverage range but it will as part of the later formal special permit application to the Hamilton Planning Board.
While Blue Sky is co-developing the tower with Verizon Wireless, George said there will be space to lease to up to four additional cell phone providers. He said it is possible T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint may all locate an antenna on the pole “in time.”
“Most of Hamilton is void of coverage,” George said, adding that he has been working in Hamilton for the past 18-24 months to find a location for a new tower.
Later, he said a recent change to the town bylaws allowed the project to move forward – increasing the allowed height of a tower to 110 feet and reducing the fallzone to 200 feet from 500 feet.
George said he has also been seeking out new cell tower sites in neighboring Essex, Ipswich and Wenham in addition to additional locations in Hamilton.
In addition to the tower, the project would include a 100-foot by 100-foot fenced in area on the ground where equipment buildings would be located. The closest home is 370 feet away from the tower, George said.
The project will need a special permit from the Planning Board and undergo site plan review from the Zoning Board of Appeals to be built. The project’s attorney, Earl Duval of Lynnfield, said an application will be filed within a month. He said Blue Sky and Verizon Wireless will likely seek 1-2 waivers, including asking not to fly a test balloon for three days and instead fly it for one morning and then create images showing what the tower will look like.
When the application is filed and a public hearing is scheduled, Duval said a project engineer from ProTerra Design Group and a radio frequency engineer from Verizon will attend. Patrick Reffett, the Planning and Inspections director for the town of Hamilton, said public comment will be taken by the Planning Board during the hearing. He asked Blue Sky to present images showing what the tower will look like from nearby Canter Brook Farm and Asbury Street.