Friday, March 24, 2000
Abutters mobilize against proposed cell tower
The ink is hardly dry on the lease between Bedford Road resident Dave Duren and communications giant AT&T, and already neighbors have mobilized against siting a cell tower in their backyards. Appearing on behalf of a neighborhood group, Colie O'Donnell of Canterbury Court urged the selectmen on March 14 to take a pro-active approach and find an alternative site which would better serve the industry and the town.
"If AT&T argues that there is no other place in town they can put a cell tower, we want to be able to show them there is," said O'Donnell. An AT&T representative has indicated that the company will require a variance from the town's bylaw to site the proposed facility on Duren's property. "Everyone doesn't want a tower in their backyard," acknowledged O'Donnell. "The industry will push it where it's expedient for them. The more we work together as a town, the better."
As recounted by board chair Doug Stevenson, the selectmen have already decided not to take a pro-active approach. Last spring, the town issued a request for proposals (RFP) for construction of a cell tower on town land. After receiving proposals from six carriers, the town withdrew the RFP because Town Meeting passed a six-month moratorium on cell tower construction while the town rewrote its bylaw. The new bylaw was adopted at the Special Town Meeting in the fall and approved by the state attorney general in December. One requirement of the new bylaw is for the applicant to demonstrate a need for the cell tower in the location desired. The selectmen decided not to issue a new RFP for any particular sites, in part because they did not know the needs of the carriers.
Stevenson concluded, however, that the board's official position should not deter private citizens from developing their own plan. "If you can come up with a site the whole town can support, that's great," he said.
"I'll lead the charge," responded O'Donnell.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito