More info requested on tower

SOUTHWICK – The Planning Board is considering a request from Emergency Management Director Charles Dunlap to erect an 80-foot communications tower at 661 College Highway.
Dunlap said the location, home to the Department of Public Works, is the backup emergency operations center (EOC) for the town. Dunlap said the tower, which must be located at the front of the building, is necessary to maintain communications in case of an emergency and the primary EOC, located at Town Hall, is compromised.
Two years ago Dunlap asked for a 100 foot tower that could be shared with the police and fire departments. The board rejected it for aesthetic reasons. Last night board Chairman Douglas Moglin asked Dunlap if the tower could be placed behind the building, which would allow for a much larger tower.
“No,” said Dunlap, “I’ve got to have feedlines as short as possible. The further I go back the closer I get to the hill and that hampers communication.”
Dunlap said because of the location of the radio room in the building, the tower must be at the front north side of the building. He said he is “limited” by the location of the room, which he said is where it is and there are no other options.
“I’ve got to be within 100 feet of that,” said Dunlap.
Board member Robert Johnson asked Dunlap about using repeaters to send the signal.
“I cannot use a repeater,” he said. “I have to be in direct contact.”
Moglin asked Dunlap if an 80-foot tower would be “doing a disservice to the town.’
“Yes, but under the conformity of operationd plan I must hav an alternate EOC and I must have alternate communication,” Dunlap said.
Town bylaws create the need for Dunlap to seek approval because communications and public safety were lumped into one section and state that public safety is exempt.
“I think under the exemption you go and pull a building permit,” Moglin said.
Dunlap said he has exhausted his efforts over the years.
“This is my last resort for the town,” said Dunlap.
Board Vice Chairperson Roz Terry told Dunlap they were not saying no, they just wanted more information.
Moglin asked if the tower had to be permanent and asked him to get more information about the possibility of erecting a temporary tower on the roof in case it was needed and asked him to come back to the board again for further discussion.

To Top