Safety was the key concern during a public hearing for a cell tower that would be integrated into the Pleasant Street Fire Station.
"Would you want this in the attic of your house?" asked William Taylor, president of Marlborough Fire Fighters Local 1714, of the equipment that is proposed to be installed in the fire house.
Taylor raised concerns of both medical safety, regarding the frequencies given off by the cell tower, and the structural safety of the 1898 building. The fire department has not made use of the tower for a number of years and he questioned the weight of the equipment, which was later confirmed at 5,000 to 8,0000 pounds, being put above the fire fighters.
"It's not structurally sound," said Taylor of the tower which reaches a height of 85 feet.
Councilor Edward Clancy also raised concerns over the structural integrity of the building following Taylor's comments.
"If the building is not structurally sound, perhaps we should not have it as a fire station," said Clancy.
Andy Candiello, agent for MetroPCS, said that the frequencies were well within the allowed limit in the area. These frequencies also include television and radio waves to which everyone is constantly exposed. The area currently has 1.3 percent of the maximum allowed limit with the tower expected to increase it by two tenths of a percent, he said.
The building would be reviewed by a structural engineer before any work would commence, said Candiello. The equipment would not be located in the tower, being placed at a lower floor, and the weight would be spread over all the supporting structures of the building.
"Our engineer didn't foresee any structural issues when we visited the site," he said.
Councilor Joseph Delano stated that there are a numerous number of the cell towers throughout town already. A half a dozen are located at the hospital alone, he said.
"For the nurses and doctors working there 40 to 50 hours a week; I don't hear them complaining," said Delano.
He also stated that the project, which the city put a bid out for, will provide money that goes into revolving funds for parks and other city programs. The rental contract is worth $31,200 a year, said Candiello.
Candiello also attempted to assuage concerns over the historic nature of the fire station and the area property values. The antennas will be six feet tall and attached to the tower of the building where they will be painted to match. They add not additional height to the building and are in an area that needs additional cell coverage due to use rates.
"It doesn't affect property values," he said. "When the antennas are painted to match the building they really blend in much better."
The matter was referred to the wireless committee.