Pigs and Salmon Factor Into Tower Siting in Whitefield, Maine

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U.S. Cellular had to jump through several hoops to persuade a local community to agree to site a monopole that included road construction, Atlantic salmon, pigs and juniper trees. The situation in southeastern Maine involved numerous meetings, a heated public hearing and a laundry list of conditions to erect a cell tower.

Chief among the conditions, the lease between the carrier and property owner will need to be changed to ensure a “visual buffer” around the tower is maintained, reports the Lincoln County News. The site owner had removed several trees, complicating the approval process.

The culvert on the access road to the site must be sized according to Maine Department of Environmental Protection best practices, according to the finding of fact. The application for the cell phone tower included plans to upgrade the access road and culverts to enable construction vehicles to access the site.

Three rows of Juniper trees at least three-feet tall need to be planted around the 75-foot-by-75-foot site that will contain the 190-foot monopole and equipment shed. The Whitefield Planning Board specifies exactly how the trees are to be spaced and planted. Because a pig farm exists on the same property the plantings must be protected to prevent the pigs from eating or rooting up the trees. 

The U.S. Cellular application included upgrades to an access road so construction trucks could get to and from the site.  That’s especially important because Atlantic salmon spawn in culverts in the access road, so the culverts must be appropriately sized so fish can easily pass through, according to the account.

Initially residents fought siting a tower on the location. The carrier had to submit an explanation of why a tower is needed; it told the town the site is equidistant from its other tower sites in the region.

U.S. Cellular has one year to complete construction. The carrier contracted with Black Diamond Consultants to handle the permitting, licensing and construction. A representative says the carrier had not yet responded to the conditions.

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