PITTSFORD — AT&T is considering using an existing cell tower on Sangamon Road to meet the obligations of a federal contract, but will move ahead with building a new one on Oxbow Road if that approach doesn’t work.
This is according to email sent to the town by Jennille Smith, of AT&T, that was read at the Nov. 20 Select Board meeting.
In early November, the board voted 4-0, with one abstention, to voice its opposition to the building of a 140-foot cell tower on Oxbow Road. This was at a meeting where approximately 50 people came out to express concerns about the project’s location.
In September, AT&T submitted an advanced notice for the project with the Public Utility Commission. The project falls under PUC jurisdiction, however, the town can be a party to the hearing process.
According to Smith’s email, which was read by Town Manager John Haverstock, AT&T has submitted an application to the owner of the tower on Sangamon Road to host an antenna. The coverage would be adequate, but not as good as if it were on Oxbow Road, according to Smith’s email. Another location to the south was also considered, but deemed unworkable.
“I am hopeful about the Sangamon Road tower, otherwise we will likely proceed with Oxbow Road which sits at the search ring center,” reads Smith’s email. “I think we should have a sense within a few weeks.”
Smith wrote that once a location is finalized, abutting residents and the town will have a two-week notice about a second balloon test. Smith wrote that whether a test can be done depends on the weather. Wind speeds can’t be more than 4 miles per hour. She wrote that AT&T will take photos of the balloon test from people’s land who give them permission.
The Select Board had requested a second balloon test be done, as many were unaware of the first.
On Nov. 29, Karen Twomey, senior public relations manager for AT&T New England, said in a brief phone interview that the company doesn’t comment on pending projects.
AT&T is doing this to improve cellular coverage in the area for emergency services. It won a federal bid to do so as part of the First Responder Network, also known as FirstNet, authorized by Congress in 2012.