The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 16, 2002


Board of appeals grants variances for cell tower Applicants now need planning board permit

At its meeting on August 1 the Carlisle Board of Appeals (BOA) voted unanimously to grant four of the five variances needed to push along the Woodward/Anderegg application to construct a cell tower on their land off Bedford Road. With the essential variances in hand, the applicants now must apply to the planning board for a permit to construct the tower. The BOA denied the applicants' fifth variance to construct a lattice-type tower rather than a monopole, which is required by Carlisle by-laws.

The board could not grant the variances under M.G.L. Ch. 40B, the law which typically governs most of the board's decisions, as 40B requires a finding of "hardship." However, the board felt that the Federal Telecommunications Act required them to allow the necessary variances.

"It all comes down to the Telecommunications Act," said board member Midge Eliassen. "There are probably few places in Carlisle that are not conservation landand the set of requirements is so stringent it is not easy to place a tower in town." Board chair Terry Herndon agreed, "If we turn it down, there might be no other site We would essentially prohibit a cell-tower. [This site] will have minimum effect on neighbors."

Associate board member Hal Sauer added that the board had agreed that there is a gap in service, that coverage is necessary according to the law, and the town must provide coverage." Herndon proffered that, "We are going to get in trouble if we keep on turning things down. We've read case law and we know the courts override boards when towns continually turn down sites."

The town is currently being sued by American Tower Corporation whose application to build a tower at 662 Bedford Road was denied.

In granting the variances the board concluded that denying the variances would constitute a substantial prohibition of the provision of personal wireless services in Carlisle under the Telecommunications Act that governs these decisions.

The following variances were granted:

sideline setback less than 40 feet;

tower height of 185 feet;

back-up generator on site;

site less than 1.5 times the height of tower-to-lot line.

Eliassen resigns from board

Midge Eliassen announced that this was the last decision she would be making, as she is leaving the board at the end of the month. Currently the clerk of the board, Eliassen has served a long time and seemed pleased to have this major decision behind her.

Comprehensive permit regs

Within the next two weeks the board review regulations governing comprehensive permits. Under time constraints because of a pending comprehensive permit application, the board is intent on updating its old regulations with new ones, assisted by town counsel Rich Huxtel. Comprehensive permits relate to the development of housing which includes low-cost units and allows higher-density housing than permitted by town bylaws.

Town center application

The board had expected to hear from town resident Darragh Murphy for a special permit to operate a children's gift and book store at 8 Bedford Road. However, the applicant did not show up. The board waited for a half hour, called her home, but to no avail. The hearing was continued to October 3.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito