GILFORD — After two years of working to finding a place for a new communications tower, the Police Department has submitted a plan for a 80-foot tower to be constructed on Mount Rowe very near the existing communications tower.
According to Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee, the bottom line is the Police Department and the Public Works Department each need more comprehensive radio coverage than they have now.
"We even have a hard time with portable-to-portable radios," Bean Burpee said. "It's an officer safety issue."
While radio communications between police officers has always been spotty in places in the relatively hilly and sprawling community, last year's FCC requirement that that all police switch to a narrow-band radio signal has enhanced the need for a new communications tower.
The town was in communication with the owners of the big communications tower on Mount Rowe, but when it learned the lease agreement for a spot on it would be too costly, the focus changed to building its own tower.
In 2013, voters approved the expenditure of $158,000 for the police to build a tower.
Town Administrator Scott Dunn said yesterday that the town was unable to get grant funding for the this particular project.
He said he has been working with the Gunstock Area Commissioners about a license agreement, and said there is a tacit agreement about the site. The said the proposed agreement is for $1 annually and "other valuable considerations."
The application to the Planning Board for a public hearing was signed by Gunstock Mountain Resort General Manager Greg Goddard.
The Planning Board will be scheduling a public hearing on Aug. 18 at 7 p.m.