Cell tower proposed for Newton Street

by Town Reminder

Cell tower proposed for Newton Street
By Matthew Couto
Turley Publications Correspondent

SOUTH HADLEY – MetroPCS, along with Global Tower Assets, are proposing the construction of a cell tower to be located at 300 Newton Avenue behind Carey’s Flowers in order to improve wireless service in the area.
The groups are seeking a Special Permit from the Planning Board to allow the construction of a 130-foot high wireless communications facility. Currently, there are no other buildings in that area that come close to that height.
To go along with the Special Permit, the applicant is looking to receive a waiver that would allow the tower to be closer to residential property than the Zoning Bylaw allows.
“They are requesting a waiver because the Zoning Bylaw requires cell towers to be set back 300 feet from residentially developed property,” said Town Planner Richard Harris. “Their proposal is only about 66 feet from the residential properties on Pershing Avenue.”
Proposal documents submitted by the applicants note the facility is intended to be located on a commercial parcel of land which previously hosted a greenhouse. The idea is the cell tower will enhance the ability for both residents and professional business owners in the area to communicate. According to the submitted documents, “an estimated 70 percent of 911 calls are placed from wireless phones” with that percentage on the rise. Applicants cite the ability to call 911 at anytime as one of the main reasons most Americans carry a cell phone with them at all times.
“The fact that they submitted an application suggests that they feel it will enhance the MetroPCS ability to serve their customers,” said Harris. “The applicant has not proposed constructing a building, but to plant some vegetation for screening, install a fenced equipment compound, and erect a 130-foot tall tower,” said Harris.
Once the construction is completed, there will be no one manning the facility. Once or twice a month, according to the Master Plan Statement submitted by the applicants, there will be a check-up from a MetroPCS technician. Other than that, “any job creation would be temporary during construction,” said Harris.
The Master Plan Statement conclusion describes there is a significant service gap in the area of South Hadley. By placing this tower at the proposed location, residents, businesses and travelers would all benefit from the improved wireless service.
Despite the wireless service improving for users, many residents from the Pershing Avenue neighborhood have already voiced their concerns to the town about the proposed cell tower.
A public hearing will be held Monday, April 9 at 6:45 p.m. in room 204 of Town Hall. The public is welcome to attend, ask questions and voice their concerns.

WHO: MetroPCS, Global Tower Assets, Planning Board
WHAT: Public hearing regarding proposed cell tower
WHEN: Monday, April 9 at 6:45 p.m.
WHERE: Town Hall, room 204.