Telecommunications giant AT&T may have discovered a way to appease Stowe folks when it comes to its months-long efforts at finding a place to put a cell tower in the village: make it pretty.
After an initial proposal by AT&T to erect a pole and cellular antenna near the corner or Pond and Depot streets was rebuffed in December by the town planning commission and selectboard, the carrier then suggested one on Pleasant Street, a residential area on the outskirts of the village historic district.
That, too, proved unpopular.
Last week, the selectboard agreed to AT&T’s new proposal — a more modest pole near the original proposed location, but one made that would resemble one of the many decorative streetlights throughout the village.
That idea came from the town Historic Preservation Commission, and just might be the Goldilocks solution the town and telecommunications giant were looking for.
The proposed cellular installation would consist of an ornamental pole near Pond Street at its intersection with Depot Street. It would stand about 43 feet tall and look like the light poles dotting Main Street.
It would be functional, too, with one or two shielded light fixtures situated about 14 feet above the ground.
The Stowe Town Plan speaks to cell towers in its communications section, stating that the town will participate in Public Service Board (now called the Public Utilities Commission) review in such things like cell tower siting “as necessary to ensure that adopted community standards are given due consideration in proposed energy facility development.”
The town had requested a public hearing before the statewide commission “to intervene in order to preserve its rights,” according to town manager Charles Safford. However, the town was satisfied enough with AT&T’s design that it agreed to withdraw its hearing request if AT&T agreed to submit the new design to the Public Utilities Commission for consideration.
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