Planning Board and ZBA Approve 172-Foot Tower Project

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Last week, the Colrain (MA) Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals approved a special permit and variance for a 172-foot-tall tower. The Greenfield Recorder reported that the applicant, Vertex Tower Assets LLC, required a variance as the tower exceeded 120-feet.

According to attorney Francis Parisi, representing Vertex Tower, the proposed height is necessary to provide adequate coverage. “As you can imagine, given the topography in Colrain, it can be a challenge to provide the coverage we want,” he said.

Parisi added that the tower would accommodate up to four carriers plus public safety antennas. He also said that the structure would be more than 200 feet from the nearest abutting property line, with most of the equipment monitored remotely. 

In November 2020, Vertex Tower conducted a balloon test to assess the tower’s potential visibility from surrounding areas, according to the Recorder. During last week’s meeting, Leyden Planning Board Chair Jim Brodeur commented on the tower’s impact on “more than two dozen homes,” saying residents would be “adversely affected” by the tower’s visibility and questioned whether an alternate site is viable. 

Parisi noted that the intended tower site would provide the best coverage. “I feel like we picked a location that works,” Parisi said. “Yes, there’s some visibility, but I’ve never built an invisible cell tower…The reason the study only goes out 1 mile is you might be able to see (the tower), but it’s a stick on the horizon — not really a huge visual impediment.”

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