Friday, January 27, 2006
Wireless bylaw revision spurs debate
What is true for houses may hold true for cell towers — the factor with the biggest impact is location, location, location. Potential sites for wireless communication facilities were discussed at the January 18 meeting of the Wireless Bylaw Subcommittee, and audience members voiced two concerns — exposure levels and access issues for any cell tower placed on school property. Paul McCormack of School Street stated, "Location at the school should be a last resort — children are there six hours a day." When asked about other town facilities, McCormack continued, "The library might be less of a problem; exposure there would be more casual."
Rod Walton of Highwoods Lane raised the question of unsupervised access to school property. "I think access is more of a problem than the signal levels. Contractors and service people will have to have 24/7 access to a wireless facility on school property." Chair Kent Gonzales and member Peter Yelle felt that this should not be a problem in that such individuals could be processed via CORI.
According to Chapter 385 of the Acts of 2002, An Act Further Protecting Children, schools may perform criminal offender record information (CORI) checks on subcontractors or laborers commissioned to do work on school grounds who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children.
With the arrival of subcommittee consultant David Maxson, review of the draft revised bylaw was undertaken with participation by subcommittee members, Planning Board chair David Freedman, and subcommittee former chair Rich Boulé (resident of Acton not Chelmsford as previously reported). Noting the direction that was implied by the draft, that is, a preference for monopole towers, Yelle said, "A monopole might not be the best idea for all locations. A guyed-lattice structure could be less intrusive. I had to really look closely for the antenna at the ranger station on Lowell Street."
Amid review of definitions in the draft such as "monopole" and "low- profile monopole," the suggestion to insert a requirement that an antenna "not break a vista" inspired the most heated discussion. A working definition for "vista" could not be achieved.
A progress report will be made at the Board of Selectmen meeting on January 24.
© 2006 The