The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 5, 2006


Wireless bylaw revision is approved

Spontaneous applause erupted as the computer/projector ran away with the presentation and completed it in 20 seconds for the last Article at Town Meeting Monday evening. After Brian Larson regained control, the Planning Board and Wireless Subcommittee member delivered the presentation for Article 27 at a more measured pace. Forty minutes of discussion ensued before the bylaw revision passed with the required 2/3 vote.

Citing difficulties with the present bylaw, Larson noted that one applicant bypassed the Planning Board and went directly to the Zoning Board of Appeals to get relief from the 900-foot setback requirement. The appeal was denied but the Massachusetts court ruled in favor of the applicant and a 180-foot tower is going up on the Anderegg property off Bedford Road.

Section of the revision received the most discussion. With a Planning Board waiver of the 900-foot setback, an applicant could install a Concealed Antenna Monopole at or near the Carlisle Public School. Lori Tucker offered an amendment to the main motion to the effect that the school property would be exempted from the waiver option.

The amendment failed after several voters spoke in opposition. Alan Lehotsky (West Street) observed that the safety of children would be better served by having seatbelts on school buses. Steve Golson (Stearns Street) said, "Having a cell phone in your pocket is more exposure to radiation than being near a cell tower."

Wendell Sykes, School Committee representative to the Wireless Subcommittee, suggested that passage of the amendment would invite court cases and increase the probability that a cell tower would be located at the school. He advocated, "If we don't give the Planning Board the ability to negotiate, we leave it to the courts to decide."

Speaking to the main motion, Paul Gill (Judy Farm Road) called the proposed bylaw change "a draft — a work in progress." He applauded the subcommittee's progress but wanted to see more done on it: "I wouldn't want to see a white pencil-thin tower [a concealed monopole] 200 feet from my living room window."

Several other voters spoke in opposition to the main motion. One said, "It would be better to tighten up the revision and bring it back next year." Another felt, "The 900-foot setback was the backbone of the original initiative."

Moderator Tom Raftery called for a vote and the bylaw revision passed.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito