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Derry councilors reject proposed AT&T cell tower

DERRY — Councilors rejected a proposal Tuesday night to lease out town-owned land to AT&T so the company could construct a cell tower.

A motion to approve the lease agreement failed when the council reached a 3-3 tie, said Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks.

“I think the town worked very hard to get a cell tower ordinance put in place,” said Fairbanks, who voted against the plan.

Also voting in opposition were Councilors Mark Osborne and Brad Benson.

Under the proposal, the town would have leased out a small section of land at 36 Tsienneto Road to AT&T. The company planned to build an approximately 150-foot cell tower on a 50-by-50-foot area of the property, said Thomas Carrier, deputy director of public works.

During the meeting, some council members asked about possible health impacts and questioned what would happen to the tower if AT&T canceled the contract after the tower was constructed.

AT&T officials said the company could set up a fund to pay for dismantling the cell tower if the contract was canceled, and that a monitoring program could be established to check for possible health effects.

AT&T sought to install the cell tower to help with poor reception in the area, according to town officials. In return for leasing the property, the town would have received $2,000 a month in revenue.

Because the area is zoned medium residential and telecommunications facilities are not permitted there, AT&T also would have needed to go before the ZBA for a variance and obtain site plan approval from the Planning Board.

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