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Lebanon Zoning Board Approves Cell Tower Near I-89 Exit 17

Lebanon — The Zoning Board of Adjustment approved AT&T’s proposal to build a cell tower of no more than 130 feet on Eastman Hill Road at its meeting last week.

The unlit tower with 12 antennas is intended to improve and expand cell phone coverage in the area around exit 17 on Interstate 89, AT&T’s attorney Will Dodge told the board during a public hearing earlier this month.

The tower, approved by a 4-0 vote with one abstention, would be visible from Interstate 89, parts of routes 4 and 4A to the northeast of the site, from the intersection of Hardy Hill Road and Sunset Rock Road to the north, from Winona Farms Circle and Farr Road to the northwest, from Methodist Hill Road to the southwest and from Mountain View Drive to the west, according to the application presented to the Planning Board for site review.

It would not be visible, however, from Eastman Hill Road.

In addition to the tower, the project would include the construction of an equipment shelter and an emergency generator.

During the board’s public hearing, neighbors William Nicen and Robert and Kathryn Woodward expressed their opposition to the project because of the impact on their views and property values.

To address those concerns, Dodge provided the board with results from studies into potential impacts on noise and views. Dodge said sound emitted from an on-site generator and air conditioner would not raise noise levels above World Health Organization standards of 50 A-weighted decibels during the day or 45 decibels at night.

Dodge told the board that AT&T chose this site because landowners Barry and Christine Barns were amenable and because the site would expand cell phone coverage without requiring the construction of a taller tower.

“I like to give the applicant the benefit of the doubt with the sizing of the antenna,” said Zoning Board member Dan Nash ahead of last week’s vote.

Nash was joined by Jeffrey Halpin, the board chairman, Vice Chairman William Koppenheffer and board member Larry Leclair in supporting the application. Board member Jennifer Mercer abstained.

Now that the Zoning Board has given the project its approval, the Planning Board — next scheduled to meet on May 12 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall — is slated to weigh in on the site plan.