Improved cell phone service will becoming to West Tisbury after the town zoning board of appeals approved a special permit for a tower off New Lane, near Tisbury Great Pond.
The board approved a 66 foot monopine for Verizon at their monthly meeting last Thursday, board chairman Tucker Hubbell said. The monopine will have fiberglass branches, an antennae painted green and a pole painted brown to resemble a pine tree. The board also was considering a stealth monopole, a single pole painted brown or gray.
The plan was referred to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as a development of regional impact in October. The commission approved the tower in April at a maximum height of 71 feet including the antennae. The application returned to the zoning board earlier this month. Mr. Hubbell said Verizon was willing to lower the height to 66 feet, in better keeping with the existing tree line.
“The average tree canopy is 51 feet, plus or minus,” Mr. Hubbell said. “Will it stick above, yes, but because there’s already a tree at 62 feet it will only stick out in that vicinity three and a half feet higher.”
In the end Mr. Hubbell said the shorter monopine was the best option.
The plan faced opposition from neighbors who protested that the tower would have a negative impact on the landscape. Some of the initially proposed locations were in a designated inland zone of the coastal district of critical planning concern, as well as a designated rural district. The final location for the tower, however, is situated outside the area of critical planning concern.
“It was a nice compromise,” Mr. Hubbell said. “The neighbors that were the most opposed in the end felt that the monopine had the least visual impact. Nobody’s thrilled about it, but it has the least visual impact.”
The pole was designed to accommodate colocation, which allows other carriers to hook up to the tower. The tower is only approved for Verizon and additional companies would have to go through a similar permitting process.
The approval will be filed with the town clerk sometime in the next few weeks, Mr. Hubbell said, followed by a 20 day appeal period. Mr. Hubbell said Verizon gave no indication of when the tower will be operational.