Verizon asks Milton planners for cell tower approval

McDonald’s review to continue at March 21 meeting
March 17, 2023

Verizon is asking for final site-plan approval from the Milton Planning and Zoning Commission to build a 140-foot cell tower on Front Street.

The commission will discuss the measure at its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 21, at Grace Church Fellowship Hall.

The issue of the cell tower has been a controversial item in Milton for years. 

The history of the cell tower goes back to March 2019, when officials from Verizon first announced plans to build a tower at the town’s public works garage. Dropped calls and dodgy cellphone service have long been a problem in Milton, and the tower was intended to remedy that. At the time, Verizon officials said mounting an antenna on an existing structure, like a water tower, would not produce the desired coverage the company was seeking. 

Verizon was granted a special-use permit in March 2021, which was appealed by resident Barry Goodinson a month later. Council affirmed the permit in August 2021.

Preliminary site plans were approved by planning and zoning in November 2021. That approval was also appealed, this time by resident Allan Benson. Town council again ruled in Verizon’s favor.

The location of the tower has long been an issue, as it is planned to be at the existing town public works yard at 210 Front St. Opponents say the tower would be an eyesore in a part of town that frequently floods. They also point to the comprehensive development plan, where it says the area is intended to be a gateway, especially after the wastewater treatment plant is demolished when Artesian’s new plant on Route 30 is up and running.

To address flooding concerns during the preliminary site-plan review process, the commission attached a series of conditions that must be met prior to final approval, including a geotechnical analysis of the site in both wet and dry conditions, permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a sequence of construction, no pile-driving allowed, an analysis of runoff and flooding, vibration monitoring and a promise that Verizon will maintain plantings around the site.

Still, it took more than a year for Verizon to arrive at final approval, which can only be done after the applicant satisfies any conditions put forth by local, county and state authorities. 

McDonald’s application to be discussed

Not content to have one controversial issue on its plate, the commission will also continue discussion of preliminary site plans for a proposed McDonald’s at the corner of Route 16 and Union Street Extended. 

The commission has twice tabled review of the application due to concerns raised about traffic impacts and design of the proposed 4,000-square-foot restaurant. The restaurant would comprise 60 seats, 39 angled parking spaces, drive-thru windows, landscaping, lighting and other improvements, and would operate from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days per week.


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