David was interviewed in the Keene Sentinel in connection with wireless tower siting issues in Fitzwilliam, NH. Here’s an excerpt from the article by Sarah Trefethen:
“Local zoning decisions have to walk that tightrope between following the zoning regulations and not effectively prohibiting wireless service,” said David Maxson, who runs the Massachusetts-based consulting company Broadcast Signal Lab.
Maxson’s job is to help local boards deal with the extra time pressure and extra rules that come along with applications for cell towers and other wireless facilities. And even though he works for local governments to review applications from companies like AT&T and US Cellular, under state law, he said, the companies pick up the tab.
Even though towns can’t stop AT&T or US Cellular or any other provider from coming into town, there are things they can do to make sure their residents get the best service possible with the fewest negative effects.
“Sometimes a carrier is really trying to get the maximum performance from one facility, and sometimes it really does pay to split the difference,” Maxson said. “Instead of one big ugly tower on the top of a hill, you can have one down in the woods and one over by the bend in the river … sometimes multiple small towers give more coverage and better coverage.”
Maxson recommends local governments plan ahead to pick a consultant they would like to work with before a wireless facility application lands on their desks.
In addition, he said, not all zoning ordinances are created equal. If a town’s rules for wireless facilities are worded as if all facilities are giant towers, that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Zoning rules and setback limits can rule out other potential options, such as placing antennas in church steeples.
“If there’s a willing church and a willing cell company, it’s perfect,” Maxson said.
He recommends towns take a close look at their ordinances and make sure they’re setting rules for the kind of development they’d most like to see.
“There are corners that towns paint themselves into.”