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Hadley board approves lease for new Verizon Wireless tower

The 80-foot tower will replace the 60-foot one there now, and there will be another 80-foot tower on River Drive, said Ellen Freyman, an attorney representing Verizon. Both towers will be built in such a way that they will blend in with the surroundings, she said.

“No one will know it’s there,” she said of the one on River Drive.

The East Street tower will accommodate new communications equipment for the town’s emergency personnel, eliminating “dead spots” in town, Freyman said.

Verizon Wireless will pay the town rent of $18,000 a year, increasing by 3 percent a year, plus 50 percent of the proceeds of any other carrier using the tower, according to the lease.

As more customers use their phones for data transmission, the existing tower would have resulted in even more dropped calls in the future, Freyman said.

“We’re looking for seamless service everywhere,” said Tom Nolan, a Verizon Wireless representative.

The town’s Historical Commission opposed the East Street tower, contending that it would have an adverse visual impact on the historic district. But the Select Board appealed to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which approved the plan, Freyman said. The project requires a special permit from the Planning Board, which may hold a hearing as soon as February, she said.

Verizon Wireless requested a change in the wording of the lease to delay its initial rent payment until it builds the tower. The Select Board’s vote on signing the lease was 3-1, with member David Moskin dissenting. He said the board should wait until town counsel renders an opinion on the change of wording.

“We’re anxious to get this going,” said Freyman. But she declined to speculate about exactly when the tower will be built.

She did, however, promise that the taller tower would result in fewer interruptions of wireless service and improved communications for the Police and Fire Departments.

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