“It looks like one of the supports for the space shuttle.”
“It looks like a mast.”
Those were all comments made by selectmen last week to describe a new 28-inch flagpole AT&T wants to install in front of the Southborough Town House. As you can probably guess from their reaction, the selectmen weren’t thrilled with the plan.
The current flagpole at the Town House, which is 18 inches at its base and 12 inches at the top, houses three AT&T antennas. AT&T contractor Peter Fales told selectmen last week that as part of a move to upgrade their high speed data services, the telecommunications company wants to add three new LTE antennas.
The problem is, the current pole is too small to support the installation. So AT&T has proposed installing a non-tapering 28-inch flag pole, the minimum diameter required to support the new antennas.
“This is one ugly flagpole,” Selectman John Rooney said while looking at mock-ups provided by Fales. “It doesn’t even look like a flagpole.”
AT&T currently pays the town about $2K a month for the right to use the flagpole. Fales said the company would be willing to increase their payment by $500 per month for the new antennas, an amount he called “fair.”
Rooney disagreed. “For this to ever get an affirmative vote, AT&T is going to have to substantially, substantially increase the lease proposal,” he said.
But even if AT&T comes back with a higher proposal, Selectmen indicated aesthetics may be a deal-breaker.
“As a veteran from this town, I would look at that thing and be appalled,” Selectman Dan Kolenda, an Iraq war veteran, said of the proposed design.
Selectman Bill Boland read a letter from Main Street neighbor Dr. Timothy (“Doc”) Stone. “The fatter it becomes, the less it looks like a flagpole,” Stone wrote. “It could more accurately be described as a smoke stack.”
If AT&T is successful in securing approval from selectmen, they’ll still need to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals to get a special permit for the work.
Want to judge for yourself? Click here for a larger before-and-after picture, then share your thoughts in the comments.