Friday, May 18, 2007
Planning Board approves wireless facility in Erikson Farm cupola, Okays Chestnut Estates Conservation Cluster
In the first meeting after Town Elections, the Planning Board chose new officers before continuing work on applications for installation of cellular antennas. Approval was given for a wireless service facility at Erikson Farm on Lowell Road, but more data was requested for the cell tower proposed at Sorli Farm on Westford Street. In other business, the board decided to approve the Chestnut Estates Conservation Cluster on Rutland Street, pending receipt of final plans.
New members Ken Hoffman, Carol Nathan and Marc Lamere were sworn in while past members David Freedman and Tom Lane were named as associate members with authority to participate and vote during the ongoing Special Permit Hearings. Carol Nathan was elected Board Clerk. Acting chair Michael Epstein announced that David Freedman would be chairing portions of the board meetings related to those ongoing hearings.
Erikson Farm antenna permitted
The board approved the special permit for Omnipoint Communications, Inc. to install a personal wireless communication facility at 886 Lowell Street (Erickson Farm) while noting that the wireless coverage improvement afforded by the facility will be only over a limited area. There was no public comment during the continued hearing.
The board's list of waivers granted and findings in support of the granting of the special permit will be on file at the Planning Board office after Friday, May 18.
Sorli Farm hearing continued
Chair pro tem David Freedman began the hearing by stating, "This is one of the most difficult [decisions] in my five years on the board. Income [from the wireless lease] will help maintain the rural character but a monopole will impact the rural quality." The Planning Board continued the public hearing on the application by Omnipoint Communications, Inc. to build a personal wireless communication facility on the Sorli Farm at 1022 Westford Street.
The board was critical of Omnipoint's efforts to comply with requirements of the bylaw and the board's Rules and Regulations. At a prior meeting, attorney Brian Grossman, representing Omnipoint Communications, stated that if a 60-foot monopole tower was approved, Omnipoint would not build it. His position was it would provide insufficient coverage. (See "Sorli Farm cell tower plan reviewed," Mosquito, May 11.) The board's position is that no data or overall plan has been presented to support such a conclusion.
Both Freedman and board member Kent Gonzales were disappointed in Grossman's examples of "more stealthy" monopoles. Gonzales said, "What you are showing us is what we can find on the Internet."
Freedman asked for comment from the audience and observed that since the hearing was likely to be continued there would be additional opportunity for public testimony. Bob Ford (Maple Street) said that he drove by the area during the balloon test and saw little difference in visibility between the 60 and 80-foot heights particularly since trees shield most of the view along Westford Street.
Before voting to continue the hearing at 8:30 p.m. on June 11, Freedman told Grossman, "We want technical responses to the bylaw."
Located at 400 Rutland Street (Map 36, Parcels 23 and 26) the six-lot subdivision and its two private common driveways were approved by the board. New members Nathan and Hoffman abstained while Lamere, as an abutter to the property, recused himself. A complete set of plans along with the board's list of draft findings in support of the granting of the special permits will be on file at the Planning Board office after Friday, May 18.
The board commended engineer Peter Howe and attorney Martha Howe, who represented the Brown Trust, for their participation in the process. Specific mention was made of the cooperation with abutters and the Carlisle Trails Committee and of the several innovations implemented in the subdivision, including: engraved granite bounds to identify the limit of private property adjacent to public land, the bio-retention swales with strategically located plaques giving guidance for maintenance, and the reinforced turf in areas where the driveways are adjacent to the swales.
The public hearing will be continued at 8:15 p.m. on June 11 to sign the final set of plans and for a final review of the decision (findings and conditions).
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