Peter Comart: Society offers outrageous 200ft tower on pristine ridgeline

This commentary is from Peter Comart, President of Garden Mats in Worcester.

If you ask most people in Worcester, I suspect a majority wants a cell tower and better telecom coverage. But at what cost ? In my opinion, a 200 foot high tower is totally excessive and would be a permanent eyesore for all future generations.

It is outrageous to think that a private company, Industrial Wireless Technologies Inc., could and would come up with a 200 foot tower on one of Worcester’s beautiful, pristine ridgelines. It would be visible from many remote locations, including Hunger Mountain, Worcester Mountain, and White Rocks.

A 200ft tower on Norton Road would immediately alter the scenic views for people who live across town on Hampshire Hill. This would alter the scenic views of the ridgeline from all homes in the village and along Highway 12. This would immediately alter the scenic views of the Worcester Mountain Range from the Ellis-Bruce Trail.

The tower would be right in the middle of the final view on the trail, looking down at the Worcester Range from Calais. It would ruin the sight of many other people living on Gould Hill Road, Dugar Road and Dugar Road Extension. And it’s located 300 feet from a residence owned by James Wood.

What angers me and many others is the fact that the proposed tower is over 100 feet longer than it should be and the company can legally and totally ignore the ordinance of the town.

Worcester’s 1998 Ordinance clearly states that such a tower “shall not be more than 20 feet above the average height of the tree line measured within 100 feet of the highest vertical member height of the telecommunications installation”. It further states that the height should “not cause undue visual impact on the scenic character or appearance of the area”. The proposed Industrial Wireless tower violates both of these requirements.

Moreover, Industrial Wireless did not even delineate the range of coverage or offer alternative sites or structures. In his notice letter, he has the nerve to state, “Industrial has designed the facility to minimize impacts to natural and scenic resources.” That couldn’t be further from the truth.

The truth is that they want a 198.8ft tower to maximize its profitability and to lease locations for “future carrier antennas” from other telecommunications companies.

Industrial also plans to build this 200-foot tower to support local businesses. As a local business owner, I don’t need a 200 foot cell tower. WiFi calling works great.

In fact, in less than two years, when CV Fiber goes live, everyone with cable service will be able to make WiFi calls. As a resident of Worcester for 30 years, as a former chairman of the planning commission and a former commissioner for regional planning, I am totally against the industrial scheme as proposed. It threatens to permanently modify and disfigure the rural character of our commune.

If there is going to be a cell phone tower, its location and size needs to be more in line with our by-law and city plan. Is it too much to ask?

I encourage other residents and business owners in Worcester and the surrounding town to publicly voice their opinions.

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