The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 20, 2003


Consultants recommend four cell towers for Carlisle

At the June 10 Selectmen's meeting, Planning Board member Michael Abend invited the Selectmen to a joint meeting on Monday, June 23 at 7:45 p.m. to hear the consultant's report and recommendations on cell tower placement. Abend summarized the consultant's advice, which included reducing the 900-foot setback to a residence, installing one large tower in the center of town, and placing three smaller towers nearer the town's periphery. Of the smaller towers, one would be located on Route 225 near Maple Street, a second built along Lowell Street, and a third placed along Westford Street.

Earlier, the Planning Board hired two consultants to research the cell tower issue · GPR of Harvard did a land survey and gathered general background information on town regulations, and Broadcast Signal Lab (BSL) of Medfield, Mass. did the signal strength analysis and prepared the final report. Copies are not currently available, but the public can read the draft report in the Planning Board office at Town Hall.

BSL has submitted the preliminary results of their study entitled "Evaluation of Wireless Facility Demands in Carlisle, MA" to the board, and plans to present the final report to the joint meeting on June 23.

BSL opens the rather lengthy report by making an observation about the Town of Carlisle. "This bucolic community is not a major thoroughfare for traffic. Consequently, the wireless companies and tower development companies are only now pressing hard to deploy wireless facilities in the community." The study goes on to identify 23 potential sites that meet the setback requirements of 900 feet and 16 sites with setbacks of 500 to 750 feet that would require variances.

The report concludes that the Carlisle School site offers the best overall coverage with robust quality signal level. To mollify those who might be opposed to a cell tower on school property, BSL includes a picture of the middle school in Westwood, MA, with a giant cupola/spire concealing a wireless antenna emerging from the roof. BSL takes a dim view of Carlisle's 900-foot setback bylaw by stating, "The giant setbacks may present unintended consequences by winnowing out other sites that might have the most desirable visible and environmental characteristics. The permittable sites are limited in quantity and location, and some are unsuitable for various reasons."

Broadcast Signal Lab has been subpoenaed by plaintiffs in litigation against the town by AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless, filed in early 2002 after the Carlisle Board of Appeals denied variances to build a cell phone tower at 662 Bedford Road.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito