By Beth David, Editor
Verizon submitted nine applications to place small cell equipment on utility poles in Fairhaven, and appeared before the Fairhaven Planning Board at its meeting on 1/10. The public hearings for all nine applications were continued to the 2/21 meeting.
Board members had several questions about the concept in general and about specific pole placements. Eight of the nine poles are along Huttleston Avenue (Route 6), one is at Fort Phoenix. All of the requests are at the same location as existing utility poles; seven will be replaced with higher poles, two will remain the same. Each antenna will then be mounted on the pole and will extend higher than the top of the pole at varying heights, depending on location.
Attorney Daniel D. Klasnick, representing Verizon, told the board that the company saw a need for additional coverage because of increased usage in the area.
The busy Route 6 corridor seemed to be self-explanatory, with more cars using the road and more cell phones and other devices being used. The one at Fort Phoenix got a chuckle from members who surmised it was because of the Pokemon Go users at the Fort.
Joseph Borelli, who is on the Fairhaven Board of Appeals, wrote to the Planning Board to say that one of the poles, at 280 Huttleston Ave., is on his property.
Mr. Borelli sent a series of questions to the PB and asked that his opposition to the application be recorded.
In the letter, he said that some years ago NStar moved the pole onto his property, with his permission, because it kept getting hit by cars. Mr. Borelli said he has an easement on his property for the guy wires.
Town Planner and Economic Development Director Bill Roth said in a follow-up interview, that there may also be a problem with the proposed pole at Fort Phoenix because it is a park. That application calls for replacing the exciting 24.5 foot pole with a new 39-foot pole. The antenna will extend beyond the top of the pole for a maximum height of 48.3 feet.
The other six poles that will be replaced will be 39 feet high and the antennas will extend to 43.3 feet up to 49 feet depending on location.
In addition to providing improved service to those traveling on the roads, the new equipment will also improve service for Verizon wireless users in the areas surrounding the poles.
Part of the reason for the additional equipment is to “offload” some of the network demand from “macro sites” in the area. The new equipment should fill in gaps in coverage that the macro sites cannot reach.
Most of the antennas will start at about 12.5 feet up (one is at eight feet), and will extend up higher than the street lights by 15 to 20 feet.
The company also submitted a letter stating that the equipment emits no “environmental sound.” In addition, the area is a heavy traffic corridor with a lot of ambient sound.
The board will get new information at the next meeting on 2/21.
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