OTISFIELD — Verizon Wireless is moving forward with its proposal to build a communications tower at 264 Bell Hill Road in Otisfield. The tower would sit on a leased 70’ by 70’ section of the property, which is owned by Ronald Balistreri,  and Verizon would use an easement granted from Balistreri for access to it.

Scott Anderson, an attorney with Verrill Law, LLP, filed the town application with Otisfield’s Planning Board on behalf of Verizon last September. Two months later Verizon contracted with Airosmith Development, a company based in Syracuse, NY, to conduct a site plan review of the project using a balloon to simulate the visual impact a tower would have on 13 sites located around Otisfield.

A simulation map of where a proposed communications tower would be visible from different locations in Otisfield. Supplied photo

“The balloon was raised by our engineers and then they drove around the area looking for locations where the balloon was visible [from],” Anderson explained by email. “At those locations they took pictures of the balloon, replacing it with a mockup of the tower in final final simulations. The tower visibility was found to be very low, largely due to the fact that the tower would stand only 110 feet high. The standard height for most towers would be 190 feet.”

Only about 30% of Otisfield residents currently have reliable cellphone reception. According to Verizon Design Engineer Rafael Feliciano-Rivera, coverage would improve to an acceptable range in most parts of the town, save an area of Bolsters Mills which is surrounded by two mountains.

Based on the site plan review done in November, Anderson filed a supplemented application with the planning board on Jan. 5.

Anderson said he expects the board to discuss the proposal and application at its regular meetings in March and April, with a vote whether to approve to happen in May.

A map showing current cell phone reception in Otisfield. Supplied photo.

“We don’t have a hard construction schedule as we appreciate the board needs to take its time to process and decide on the application,” Anderson said. “After approval it can take 6-12 months to build, depending on the construction season and other pending projects.

“We are hopeful that the board sees this as a good project. There is no question that cell coverage needs to be improved in Otisfield.”

A map showing proposed cell phone reception in Otisfield, with the construction of a Verizon communications tower on Bell Hill Road. Supplied photo

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