Friday, March 26, 1999
Petition seeks cell tower moratorium
With the town in receipt of nine proposals to erect cell towers on town-owned land and with one proposal coming up before the board of appeals to erect a cell tower on 1 River Road, a group of citizens has petitioned the selectmen to place on the Warrant for the May Town Meeting a six-month moratorium on the building of wireless communication facilities. The purpose of the moratorium, according to its author Paul Gill of Judy Farm Road, is not to slow down the process but to ensure greater town involvement in the evaluation of proposals.
The Warrant article, structured as a zoning bylaw amendment, reads as follows:
Moratorium on wireless communications facilities
A moratorium on the granting of permits for wireless communications facilities by the zoning board of appeals shall apply for a period of six (6) months from the date of approval of this bylaw amendment. The moratorium will allow time for townspeople to perform a comprehensive study of the technical proposals submitted to the town by wireless communications companies and to participate in a two-way dialog with the zoning board of appeals and other town boards and advisory committees that will review and evaluate the proposals. The dialog will afford abutters and non-abutters alike the opportunity to assess the anticipated multi-faceted impact of wireless communications facilities on their town, their properties, and their families.
According to Gill, the amendment is modeled on a similar moratorium in effect in Wayland. The specific language can be amended on the floor of Town Meeting.
The selectmen, who are required to put any petition item on the Warrant for the Annual Town Meeting if signed by at least ten registered voters, were primarily concerned with what effect the moratorium would have on the existing cell tower bylaw, which has not been invoked since its passage in 1997. Specifically, selectman Michael Fitzgerald wanted to get input from town counsel on whether imposing a moratorium would lead a court to conclude that the cell tower bylaw was meaningless and eliminate altogether the town's efforts to regulate cell towers in town.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito