The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 23, 2004


Court approves cell tower on Anderegg property

Carlisle will soon see the construction of its first wireless communication facility, a 189-foot tall monopole tower to accommodate antenna locations for up to six wireless phone companies, on land owned by the Anderegg family at 871 Bedford Road. This decision is the result of a settlement of multiple appeals in U.S. District Court to decisions of the Carlisle Zoning Board of Appeals (BOA) in 2001 and 2002, negotiated last year and signed by the judge on April 2.

Seven lawsuits filed

In one petition, the Board of Appeals denied variances from the zoning bylaws requested by American Tower Corporation to build a wireless facility at 662 Bedford Road on land owned by David Duren. In the second petition, the Board approved variances requested by David Woodward and Gretchen Anderegg to build such a facility on their adjoining lots at 767 and 871 Bedford Road, respectively. American Tower and the wireless companies appealed both decisions. The second decision was also appealed by abutters to the Woodward/Anderegg site.

Public comment sought

As a result of the appeals to the court, neither petition had come to the Planning Board for a special permit for the construction of the tower, as would otherwise have been required in the bylaw. However, now that the cases have been settled by agreement of all the parties, including the town, the Planning Board will provide an opportunity for the public to hear and discuss the proposed plan, even though the board has no power to approve or deny that plan, since that order has already been issued by the court in conjunction with the settlement. This opportunity will be a public meeting scheduled for 8:15 p.m. on Monday, April 26, in the Clark Room at Town Hall.

This meeting is mandated by the settlement agreement and is required to be held within 30 days of the court's approval of that agreement. Representatives of American Tower and the wireless companies that were plaintiffs, AT&T Wireless, Sprint Spectrum, and Verizon Wireless, will be present for the discussion.

This is not a legally required public hearing, as it would be if the Planning Board had the authority to issue a special permit. Abutters have not been notified. Nevertheless, the Planning Board is seeking public comments and urges any interested parties to attend.

Path forward

Within 30 days of this meeting, in the terms of the settlement agreement, the board may propose conditions for the construction of the wireless communication tower and the associated facilities on the ground. To be valid, these conditions must be accepted by the plaintiffs or further ordered by the court. Key provisions such as the height, location and style of the tower cannot be varied.

The plans are on file and may be viewed in the office of the Town Clerk at Town Hall, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Planning Board has sought review of and comments on the plans from its consulting engineer, LandTech, Inc. of Westford.

Once this process is complete, the construction of the tower is expected to begin in about three months.

The site of the tower is more than 900 feet from the nearest residence and about 1650 feet northeast of Bedford Road. It is within about 400 feet of the edge of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, and less than 700 feet from the boundary of Foss Farm conservation land. An unpaved access road will serve the site from Bedford Road.

Duren property is alternate site

If for any reason the Anderegg lot becomes unavailable for this tower or its implementation is delayed by more than three months, including the failure of the Town to grant the necessary permits, the settlement agreement provides that a similar facility can be built on the Duren lot at 662 Bedford Road. In that eventuality, the same process would be undertaken again; there would be a public meeting and opportunity for the Planning Board to propose conditions.

For more information, contact George Mansfield, Planning Administrator, at 1-978-369-9702.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito