Public comment sought for tower

Comments from the public are being solicited for a proposed project to erect a 160-foot telecommunications tower at 90 Carr Lane.

The aim of the proposal is to improve cellular service north of Route 138.

According to a request for public notice from EBI Consulting, Navigator Properties LLC is proposing the construction. Anybody wishing to comment regarding the potential effects the proposed facility may have on any historic property can call 617-909-9035.

In a 2019 study by Dewberry Engineers, the firm concluded there is “generally poor coverage for all carriers on the northern half of the island.”

“Adding an additional cellular coverage on the island would be recommended for all carriers,” the engineers wrote in their report.

The test that determined a tower north of Route 138 is needed was conducted in September 2019 using a GPS antenna that collected data from the four major carriers. While coverage was best for their low-frequency bands, the only carrier with greater than 50 percent of parcels currently covered was Verizon. For higher frequency bands, the most consistent coverage was found in the neighborhoods along Seaside Drive. It concluded “the majority of the area analyzed has poor coverage outdoors and almost no coverage indoors.”

As for the historic value of the property, Nicholas Carr, a grandson of Gov. Caleb Carr, built the farm. According to the “Historic and Architectural Resources of Jamestown, Rhode Island,” which was published by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, the date 1776, carved over the doorway of the house, “is debatable.”

“It may have been built somewhat later in the eighteenth century; since then, it has been owned by the Carr family,” the book says. “The property was established as a farm and continued use well into the twentieth century.”

The 2.5-story “traditional early Rhode Island farmhouse” is located on a property that includes a corn crib, sheds and fine stone walls. A long, narrow one-story building west of the house is the former Quononoquott Dairy, which was operated in the 1930s and ’40s by Alfred and Maria Carr Bowser.

The Jamestown Philomenian Library Association, incorporated in 1847, kept its books at the farmhouse in a cupboard at the head of the back stairs.

“Known affectionally as ‘The Homestead,’ this farmhouse has been a gathering place for many generations of Carrs,” the submission says. “It is presently owned by the Carr Homestead Foundation, which makes it available to Carr descendants for summer vacations as a means of preserving family traditions and acquainting younger generations with their ancestors’ way of life.”