Friday, September 22, 2006
T-Mobile antenna may be added to Carlisle cell tower
Omnipoint Communications, Inc. (a subsidiary of T-Mobile USA, Inc.) came before the Carlisle Planning Board on September 13 to request a special permit and site plan approval to install, operate and maintain a cellular antenna in an existing tower at 871 Bedford Road. The application is for the installation of cellular equipment, noted Chair David Freedman, not the structure in which it is contained. If approved, the T-Mobile antenna would be "co-located" in the 189-foot monopole tower owned by Cingular Wireless that was recently constructed on the Anderegg property.
This is the first time an application for a personal wireless communication facility has come before the Planning Board. Two previous applications for wireless facilities in Carlisle started at the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for requested variances and ended in lengthy litigation. U.S. District Court merged the two cases and eventually awarded settlements, one of which permitted Cingular to construct the 189-foot tower on the Anderegg property where it had been previously denied. Thus, even though both plans were heard in Carlisle by the ZBA neither one ever reached the Planning Board.
T-Mobile's application is the first request to co-locate in the Cingular tower but Wednesday night's discussion revealed that it probably will not be the last. There are approximately six positions on the tower where Personal Wireless Services (PWS) providers could co-locate. With Cingular and possibly T-Mobile occupying the top two slots, there could be potentially four other locations on the tower that might be leased out by Cingular. However, Planning Administrator George Mansfield noted that if the T-Mobile facility is approved, other uses will not be automatically allowed in the future. Each proposed use would require a separate application process. The monopole is designed to conceal all wireless equipment within the tower, so that new co-locations will not change the exterior of the tower.
Representing the applicant, attorney Brian Grossman of Prince, Lobel, Glovsky and Tye, said that the proposed antenna is intended to improve a significant signal gap in T-Mobile's coverage on Bedford Road. The provider is also looking to locate up to three more facilities in Carlisle in the future, but has not submitted any other applications as of yet. Planners expect to receive more wireless applications when the new wireless bylaw goes into effect, perhaps sometime this fall.
One of the Planning Board's responsibilities in a wireless review is to determine if the facility complies with FCC regulations, as well as with the town's wireless regulations. Board members decided Wednesday to hire RF (radio frequency) engineer David Maxim to conduct a technical review of the application, which they hope will be ready when the public hearing is continued on September 27.
© 2006 The