The Londonderry Heritage Commission has given its recommendation to the construction of a cell tower off Wiley Hill Road.
At the July 28 meeting the Commission heard from Francis Parisi, an attorney representing Varsity Wireless, which wants to build a cell tower at 90 Wiley Hill Road.
Parisi told the Commission that his company fills a need. “Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobil, all the companies, have gone out of the real estate business,” he said. Varsity Wireless fills the gap, providing the infrastructure so communications firms can lease space.
The firm had a project approved in Derry two weeks ago and recently built in Stratham, Parisi said.
“The statistics are staggering,” he said of cell phone use, “and the demand is there.” Many families are giving up their land lines, Parisi said, and then there are Smart Phones.
“The coverage we had five years ago,” he said, “is not adequate for the new technology. People want to use these phones in their homes, their businesses. It’s not just mobile any more.”
The parcel is 26 acres and plans call for a tower that is 300 feet from the road, he told the Commission. The land is currently undeveloped.
“There is not a clear line of sight because of the vegetation,” he said. The tree canopy keeps the tower area pretty much out of sight, except for through the power line easement, and some minor visibility from the junction of Wiley Hill and Coleman roads, he said.
The actual tower area will be a fenced-in compound, 75 by 75 feet, and a gravel driveway will be built, Parisi said. The tower itself will be 180 feet tall.
Parisi said he has met with Londonderry Fire and they have agreed to place communications equipment on the tower. This will also include the police, he said.
“We are in the pre-design phase, so we can accommodate anything the town needs,” Parisi said.
Area residents are becoming more accustomed to the presence of cell towers in their towns, he observed. When he first started out in the business, many residents had and expressed their doubts. But at a Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing a few weeks ago, “One woman showed up, and she was in favor of it.”
Commission members were in favor too, with Roger Fillio observing, “I have no cell service at my house!” And Pauline Caron said under a previous carrier, she had to go across Mammoth Road to make a cell call.
The property contains the remains of a stone wall, and the Commission added one condition to its recommendation: that the stones stay on the property.
The Commission agreed by consensus to recommend the project.