by Roger Lecours
A zoning amendment regulating communications towers was adopted Wednesday night by the selectboard. The new regulations will become effective in 21 days.
The board's action came after a second and final public hearing on the zoning amendment. No citizens attended the hearing conducted by Vice Chairman Helmut Nottermann in the absence of Chairman Richard Brochu. Voting in favor of adopting the amendment were Anne Batten, Sherry Lussier, Tod Delaricheliere and Nottermann.
The amendment governs the construction, alteration, development and decommissioning or dismantling of commercial, industrial, municipal, county or state communications facilities in the town.
The amendment stipulates that the term "communications facilities" includes satellite dishes, antennas, transmitters, receivers, repeaters and associated equipment and buildings used by personal, telecommunication, and wireless service providers.
Adoption of the new regulation was a major victory for citizens, who last year fought off Bell Atlantic's plans to erect a communications tower on Buffalo Mountain overlooking Hardwick Village. The proposed tower was to enhance the use of cellular phones in the Hardwick area.
Some local citizens supported the tower because they feel cellular phones offer a valuable service for emergency as well as private use.
Opponents of the tower said it would detract from the mountain's pristine beauty.
In other business, the board voted to accept a 3,700-foot section of Dimick Road near the Greensboro town line. The road was brought up to Class 3 standards.
The board held a public hearing at the road site on Nov. 13. The only concerns came from Greensboro residents who worry there may now be an increase in traffic on the stretch which leads into a private road on the Greensboro side.
Town Manager Dan Hill said Dimick Road will be posted as "a dead end" road and the owners of the private strip of road can restrict traffic if they choose to do so.
In another matter, Hill raised the issue of Buffalo Mountain Road which is designated as a trail.
The town has no obligation to provide any maintenance or oversight of trails. However, the manager said he was approached by John Meyer who complained that operators of all-terrain vehicles and sport bikes are breaking up and damaging the trail. Hill said loggers who use Buffalo Mountain Road have also complained.
Hill said this is an issue which may need some study and discussion by the board and he provided copies of the state statutes which describe "trails" and "pent roads." The latter type of road are said to be "any town highway which, by written allowance of the selectmen, is enclosed and occupied by the adjoining landowner with unlocked stiles, gates and bars in such places as the selectmen designate."