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Cell tower could provide a commercial revenue stream for the town

The town of Harvard has historically been hesitant to allow commercial activities that would help offset the rising residential tax burden. There is a delicate balance here. Currently, Verizon has entered into an agreement with the Maiores of 12 Woodchuck Hill Road to build a new cell tower on their private residential land, citing prior rejections of public land inquiries. It is fair to say that COVID-19 has only reinforced the importance of proper cell phone coverage. The tower location would improve coverage for a portion of Harvard, and notably, for commuters along Mass. Ave. The tower also creates a material income stream for the Maiores (i.e., royalties from carriers to occupy the tower) and represents a nice cost savings since Verizon has agreed to remove the current obsolete 130-foot lattice tower on their property. However, I believe that town residents should have the opportunity to benefit from this material income stream. The Hildreth House is an example of a site that now could be an available option with comparable coverage (per Verizon), but that would require Select Board and town meeting approval.

I respectfully ask the Maiores, my neighbors on Woodchuck Hill, to postpone their agreement with Verizon until the town can properly assess (and hopefully approve) Hildreth House or another public site for the cell tower. The Maiores are leaders in the community, as Mr. Maiore is a prior selectman and their son serves as a current Select Board member. I request that my neighbors defer the project for the betterment of the town.

I have been quite vocal about the tower proposal at 12 Woodchuck Hill Road, given the direct negative impact to my family. However, I believe this alternative approach provides a greater benefit to the community. To further illustrate my alignment with town interests, and to help my neighbor, I am offering to lead a fundraising effort to help alleviate the cost of removing the existing 130-foot tower, instead of leaving the removal to Verizon.

Greg Romero
Woodchuck Hill Road

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