AT&T’s proposed cell tower extension moving forward in South Deerfield

AT&T’s plans to extend the cell tower behind the South Deerfield Fire District can proceed following recent approval from the Deerfield Zoning Board of Appeals.

AT&T’s plans to extend the cell tower behind the South Deerfield Fire District can proceed following recent approval from the Deerfield Zoning Board of Appeals. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

AT&T’s plans to extend the cell tower behind the South Deerfield Fire District can proceed following recent approval from the Deerfield Zoning Board of Appeals.

AT&T’s plans to extend the cell tower behind the South Deerfield Fire District can proceed following recent approval from the Deerfield Zoning Board of Appeals. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 04-17-2024 11:27 AM

Modified: 04-17-2024 4:01 PM


SOUTH DEERFIELD — AT&T’s plans to extend the cell tower behind the South Deerfield Fire District can proceed following recent approval from the Deerfield Zoning Board of Appeals.

The project previously received approval from the Planning Board to raise the cell tower by an additional 20 feet, from 85 feet to 105 feet, to co-locate AT&T’s equipment with Verizon’s. AT&T will also install a backup generator in the same area as Verizon’s.

“We do need to bump out the fence enclosure by about 3 and a half feet,” said Edward Pare, the attorney who is representing AT&T. “It’s a pretty straightforward installation, similar to Verizon’s.”

Verizon has used the tower behind the Fire District since 2017 and the company leases the space from the district, which is the model AT&T will follow. The tower was originally built with the intention of adding an extension to it.

Like the Planning Board’s discussion earlier this month, ZBA members had few questions about the proposal last week, other than if AT&T customers in town could expect better cell reception.

Pare and radio frequency engineer Martin Lavin noted there are no AT&T towers located within 2 miles north and south of the South Deerfield Fire District and the new tower will get about 2.7 square miles of new coverage.

The only member of the public in attendance was South Deerfield Fire District Chief William Swasey, who voiced support for the project because it will provide some extra revenue for the district and more cell coverage can assist in hiking rescues.

“A lot of people are hiking on Mount Sugarloaf and North Sugarloaf now,” Swasey said. “We’ve got a little bit of a dead area and we’ve had a number of mountain rescues up there and the majority — I would say 90% — of our first responders are AT&T [customers] … and this will aid and assist us in better rescues.”

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With the ZBA’s unanimous approval, the project may move forward. Pare previously said AT&T could finish the tower’s extension by the end of the year or in early 2025.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.