Plans for a permanent wireless cell tower on Chappaquiddick have sparked renewed debate on the small island, which has long struggled to acquire more reliable cell phone service.

The proposed 115-foot AT&T tower at 14 Sampson avenue is opposed by some abutters, who cite concerns about safety, location and aesthetics. But other residents and town emergency personnel say improved cell service is vital and back the plan.

The tower is currently under review by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as a development of regional impact. It will replace a 104-foot temporary tower at the same site. The commission and Edgartown planning aboard approved the temporary tower in April 2016 amid similar debate.

Last week about 20 people attended a second public hearing about the project at the commission office in Oak Bluffs.

Stephen Tirrell, whose home abuts the property, asked the commission to take a look at other locations.

“AT&T is a multinational corporation that you’re going to allow to set up a business in a residential neighborhood here on Martha’s Vineyard, Chappaquiddick, a place where people come to vacation, to see wildlife, to see the beautiful ocean,” he said. “If you woke up in the morning and looked out your bedroom window and there’s a cell tower, what would you think.”

Tower has sparked opposition among some neighbors. But it has strong backing from public safety officials who say Chappy's lack of service is a genuine concern. — Mark Alan Lovewell

He added: “I’m a cancer survivor. To have this thing put next to me, it scares the hell out of me.”

But Chappaquiddick resident Bob Gurnitz had another view.

“We heard from the lawyer from AT&T that this isn’t going to go on forever . . . no other carrier is willing to take the lead,” he said, noting that the issue has been studied for seven years. ““We’ve heard from both police and fire chiefs that coverage is essential and in my opinion we have no choice but to go forward and best still do that while AT&T has an interest.”

According to the commission, the multi-carrier monopole tower will be built by AT&T with a slot for Verizon and another carrier. It will replace the temporary tower at the site, as well as an 84-foot tower on the same site that is operated by MV WiFi LLC. The MV WiFi antennas will be moved to the proposed new tower.

The Sampson avenue property is owned by Robert M. Fynbo.

The proposal for a permanent cell tower comes after years of discussion about bringing improved cell coverage to Chappy. For years the town struggled to attract interest from cellular carriers.

If the project is approved by the commission, it will also require a special permit from the town planning board.

AT&T representatives at the meeting said the slightly shorter temporary tower was meant to provide short-term coverage.

“AT&T will not invest in a permanent facility that will not allow it to meet all its coverage objectives,” outside counsel for AT&T Brian Grossman told the commission. He said the company has been working with the town of Edgartown to provide better service for public safety.

“Don’t punish AT&T for being willing to step into the void which no other carrier was willing to do,” he said. “If AT&T folds its proposal, no Verizon proposal is coming on the property.” He said Verizon is willing to put antennas on the tower to provide network coverage, but will not build the tower. The additional 10 feet on the permanent tower will benefit the network and allow other providers and wi-fi antenna to move to the tower, Mr. Grossman said.

The design of the permanent tower, which will have antennae and other radio equipment stemming from the main structure, was a source of debate. AT&T said a utility pole with antenna concealed inside the tower was not feasible. Company representatives offered an alternative proposal for a monopine, a pole with extending antenna designed to look like a pine tree. Some members of the audience gasped and laughed when pictures of the monopine rising above the treeline were shown on a screen in the meeting room.

Dan Goulet, an engineer representing AT&T, said the Sampson avenue property was the most feasible site of three areas identified during a site analysis. He said the location provides the most reliable coverage to the most residents, in addition to covering public areas like beaches and complying with the town zoning bylaw.

The location in a residential neighborhood was a chief concern.

“There are better places, better alternatives,” said Dana Strayton, who said she lives 178 feet from the tower. “We’re asking them to find a location that works for all the people on Chappy and provides safety for as many people as possible.”

Her husband, Robert Strayton, said he found fault with information in AT&T’s analysis and said a permit was never granted for the original wifi tower built on the site.

“The site fails on so many levels,” he said. “To approve this site is very problematic.”

Others urged the commission to approve the proposal, including Edgartown IT director Adam Darack.

Mr. Darack said the town is focused on cell phone access for public safety. “I don’t care if people can necessarily check Facebook on the beach,” he said. “But from the town’s perspective it’s saving lives and allowing our first responders to communicate, so the town is happy with that.”

Kristy Rose, the administrative assistant to the selectmen who has property in neighborhood, said not all neighbors are against the cell tower. “I would be very happy if it was there,” she said.

“I’ve watched the Chappy cell phone committee try in vain for several years to get some interest in town property, to get them to build a tower,” she said. “This is our one chance to get cell phone service on Chappaquiddick and I think it’s really important.”

The public hearing was continued to Nov. 30.