Verizon proposes cell tower on private West Tisbury property


West Tisbury’s zoning board of appeals (ZBA) will hold a public hearing on September 6 on a proposal by Verizon to erect a wireless communications tower on the property of Robert Doane, off New Lane.

Mr. Doane told The Times that he signed a contract with Verizon about 15 months ago to lease part of his property, in a heavily wooded area, for the tower. Mr. Doane said Verizon contacted him by letter about four years ago with the proposal, which the company said is needed to boost cell phone coverage in West Tisbury’s dead zone.

The cell phone tower requires a special permit from the ZBA before it can be built, chairman Tucker Hubbell said. Verizon’s legal representative, attorney Carl Gehring of the law firm Gehring Associates in West Mystic, Connecticut, met with the ZBA for a pre-application discussion several months ago.

He submitted Verizon’s permit application to the ZBA last week, after completing requirements such as a land survey and a search for alternate sites that might be used. Although the planning board does not have a role in the permitting process, Mr. Gehring made a presentation at a recent meeting to explain the cell tower proposal, in advance of a public hearing.

Mr. Hubbell said after the public hearing that Verizon’s permit application would be referred to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for review as a development of regional impact. The commission’s checklist for referrals includes new wireless communications towers.

Several years ago, West Tisbury pulled out of a joint plan with neighboring Chilmark and Aquinnah to create a distributed antenna system, which relies on small antennas on poles, part of a plan by those towns to prevent the erection of towers. Chilmark and Aquinnah went ahead on their own.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Mr. Doane as a resident of Maine. Mr. Doane is a resident of West Tisbury.