Small New England Town Sets Bylaws For Towers

A little town in north-central Massachusetts, Bernardston (pop: 2,125), is planning for the future by enacting bylaws regulating wireless telecommunication facilities, according to the Greenfield Recorder.

The Planning Board is requiring a special permit for: “towers, antennas and accessory structures that are used to provide cellular telephone service, personal communications services, paging services, radio and television broadcast services, or similar broadcast services,” the amendment reads.  

Service providers would have to “minimize adverse visual effects through careful design, siting and vegetative screening, using materials and colors that are compatible with the surrounding environment. Advertising or signs on towers would be prohibited, and fencing would need to be as unobtrusive as possible.”

“Before any new tower is approved,” the amendment reads, “the applicant would need to prove it’s not feasible to locate their equipment on an existing tower or building. Before a new tower is proposed in a residential district, the applicant would need to prove it’s not feasible to put this equipment in another district or on municipal facilities.”

“Should a tower be put in a residential district,” the amendment continues, “it would need to be set back from all property lines at least twice the distance equal to its height. In other districts, the distance would need to be at least equal to the tower’s height, except in cases where the board deems it safe to have a shorter setback.”

Single provider towers can’t be taller than 130 feet, while multiple providers would be allowed an additional 20 feet for each additional provider, up to a maximum of 220 feet. The limits would not apply to government and emergency telecommunication towers.

August 3, 2017                   

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