November 17, 2010

Cell Tower Plan Revived

Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- After earlier abandoning plans to build a telecommunications tower at Dollar Bill’s Discount World, T-Mobile is seeking planning board approval for a new tower on Lawrence Road.
Under the current plans, T-Mobile would construct a 140foot monopole on a 10.36-acre parcel at 8 Lawrence Road, contained by a 100-by-100foot compound with 8-foot high fences with two strands of barbed wire. According to the plans, the tower would likely be made of galvanized steel and have the capacity to host three additional telecommunications carriers.
The tower would be 600 feet from the nearest roadway and 148 feet from the closest property line, according to plans. The plans say the tower would have no bright lighting, except downward-facing, motion-sensored lighting for night workers, and would be surrounded by significant tree coverage.
The 8 Lawrence Road site is owned by Blount Communications and is already home to four 300-foot AM radio towers broadcasting WDER Radio, which stand more than twice as tall as T-Mobile’s tower would.
And given the existing towers on the site, Derry Planning Assistant Elizabeth Robidoux said the T-Mobile plan is relatively cut and dry.
“This is a pretty straightforward proposal,” Robidoux said Tuesday. “It met all of our regulations and I have to admit, this is one of the cleanest submittals for a site plan that I’ve seen,
 especially for something of this scope.”
The plan was given a variance from the site’s low-medium density residential zoning at a meeting of the Derry Zoning Board on Aug. 19 and was passed through the Derry Conservation Commission on Oct. 25.
No abutters appeared at either meeting to speak for or against the proposal.
A similar T-Mobile proposal to construct a tower at the site of Dollar Bill’s Discount World at 133 Rockingham Road in Derry received initial approval in April 2007, but no efforts have been made to build the tower, Robidoux said.
During recent conversations with town staff, T-Mobile attorney Steven Grill said the company withdrew funding for the Dollar Bill’s site and instead located on an existing tower at 78 Warner Hill Road, thus taking care of the Rockingham Road area coverage gap, according to staff reports.
In 2008, T-Mobile put up $25,000 for a reconstruction bond to protect the town in case the Dollar Bill’s tower were to be abandoned, said Robidoux. The money is still sitting in a town escrow account, she said, and will be returned at the company’s request and pending official word that the Dollar Bill’s project has been abandoned.
Robidoux said T-Mobile would need to front a similar reconstruction bond for the Lawrence Road project.
The new T-Mobile monopole would be Derry’s fifth telecommunications tower.
The Derry Planning Board will open consideration of the T-Mobile project at its regular meeting tonight, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Derry Municipal Center.

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