BENTON — Proposed changes to the town’s land use ordinance would make parts of the town out of bounds for companies that want to put up cellphone towers and set up stricter building standards for towers built elsewhere in town.

A public hearing on the proposed amendments will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Town Office. Residents will vote on the changes March 12 at Town Meeting.

The changes are a reaction to a proposal from U.S. Cellular to build a cell tower near a residential neighborhood near Benton Avenue, a move strongly opposed by people worried the tower would lead to health and safety problems.

The Planning Board in January rejected U.S. Cellular’s application after the company asked to have it put on hold indefinitely.

On Wednesday, Planning Board Chairman Lance Shores said resident Robin Cyr, who helped spearhead community opposition to the tower, also led a petition drive to get the ordinance amendments on the Town Meeting warrant. Cyr, currently a Planning Board member, is running unopposed for a three-year seat on the Board of Selectmen.

Cyr did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday afternoon.

There are three proposed ordinance amendments. The first would prohibit construction of cellphone towers in the Benton Station Village district and the growth districts in Benton Falls and Benton proper, all residential neighborhoods. Benton Station is the area where U.S. Cellular proposed its recent cell tower.

The second amendment would require a developer to set towers back from any residential lot, public building or property line by a distance of no less than 200 percent of the tower height, including additional antennas and other devices. That provision would make it more difficult for towers to be built in residential areas, Shores said.

A third proposed amendment outlines rules that cell tower owners have to follow if the towers stop operating. According to the proposal, after not operating for 60 days, a tower would be considered abandoned, and owners would have 30 days to prove it was still working or 90 days to remove it. Owners would have to return the site to its pre-construction condition including removing roads and planting vegetation, according to the proposed rules.

Shores said the town does not have rules for decommissioning towers.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire