Friday, June 18, 1999
Selectmen form cell tower advisory
Pursuant to the Town Meeting vote imposing a six-month moratorium on the construction of wireless communications facilities, the selectmen on June 8 established a wireless communications advisory committee. While the new committee's scope of duties has not yet been finalized, selectmen anticipate that the committee will, at a minimum, assist in creating a new cell tower bylaw. The committee may also play a role in evaluating proposals for cell towers submitted to the town.
On the recommendation of resident Paul Gill, the leading proponent of the moratorium, the selectmen appointed four members to the committee: Don Allen, Dave Willard, Lucinda Cutrer and Gill. Selectmen also suggested that the committee include a liaison with the bylaw review committee and a member of the planning board. In addition, Gill mentioned that he was looking for a civil engineer to round out the expertise on the committee.
According to Allen, in reviewing the existing bylaw, the new committee will draw on the experience of neighboring towns. "We don't want to reinvent the wheel," he stated. Allen also noted that the laws governing wireless communications facilities are "fluid" citing certain recent judicial interpretations of the Telecommunications act of 1996, which denied towns the right to prohibit cell towers within their borders. Selectman Vivian Chaput wanted to be certain that whatever bylaw change is recommended will not be challenged legally. "We don't need to create a problem for ourselves," she said.
Town administrator David DeManche reported that he had not yet replied to the companies which responded to the town's request for proposals for construction of cell towers on town land. Chaput suggested that DeManche notify the companies that the town passed the six-month moratorium.
Questions on timing
Questions arose, however, on when the moratorium expires. Selectmen and committee members were not sure whether the time limit is six months from the date of approval at Town Meeting, six months from the date the attorney general approves the moratorium, or six months from the date of first publication of the legal notice of the proposed moratorium. In any case, committee members will have a busy summer.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito