Friday, June 15, 2007
Planning Board considers cell tower, approves common drive
Chair pro tem David Freedman opened the hearing at the June 11 Planning Board meeting on the application by Omnipoint Communications, Inc. to build a personal wireless communication facility on the Sorli Farm at 1022 Westford Street. Attorney Brian Grossman and engineer Kamal Johari represented the applicant.
Reviewing the series of monopole visibility photo simulations presented by Grossman for the site, member Greg Peterson asked that the presentation be expanded to include both summer and winter conditions.
Member Brian Larson decried the lack of response to a specific request he had made for more substantive information regarding Grossman's position that if a 60-foot monopole tower were approved, Omnipoint would not build it. [See "Sorli Farm cell tower plan review," Mosquito, May 11, 2007.] Omnipoint seeks an 80-foot monopole.
Speaking from the audience, Nancy Pierce (Westford Street) asked if granting the cell tower special permit would preclude subsequent development within the 900-foot setback from the facility. Peterson cited the bylaw and said that the bylaw relates to "the structure of an existing residence, or the footprint of a future residence for which a Building Permit has been issued." Nothing would prevent future subdivision of the property even if the special permit is granted.
Providing guidance to Grossman, Epstein said, "You need to make a case for us to grant the special permit. Apply the facts to the law. You should be coming to us with a package responsive to the bylaw." Freedman concluded, "Go back to your 40 page report and refine it and make your case. You know what our concerns are. You have to 'sell' us. It shouldn't take more than five pages."
The hearing will continue at 8 p.m. on June 25.
Cross Street Scenic Roads
and Common Driveway
Previously the board had suggested that the applicant, William Costello, consider the option of a common driveway to serve the two house lots on Map 7, Parcels 21 and 21-4. George Dimakarakos (Stamski & McNary), representing the applicant, presented plans showing the driveway layout and requested removal of five trees within the right-of-way of Cross Street and removal of 19 feet of stone wall in order to implement the plan. Dimakarakos requested waivers of three of the board's Rules and Regulations for the special permit. Since it will only serve two lots he asked that naming the "street" with a sign not be required and that the amount of plan detail on proposed driveway grades not be required. Further, in order to accommodate a T-turnaround on the private common drive without encroaching on wetlands he requested waiver of the 40-foot distance from the property line. The T-turnaround is within 21-feet of the property at 85 Cross Street. Noting that the topography afforded a natural barrier with the adjoining property and that the abutters had been notified of the hearing the board granted the request.
Member Greg Peterson asked that a condition for the permit be that the driveway "not be used to access more than two single family homes and uses and structures legally accessory thereto." Giving his rationale Peterson said that the Dover Amendment could permit uses of the property and of the driveway beyond the intent of the board. [The "Dover Amendment" refers to Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Chapter 40A, Section 3, which exempts agricultural, religious, and educational corporations from many zoning restrictions. It allows a facility that provides certain services, educational chief among them, to ignore local zoning laws and build the facility it needs to provide those services.] Peterson continued, "I'd like to see the board get into the habit of including such language on all Common Driveway Special Permits."
The board gave its consent for removal of the trees and the stone wall and granted the special permit.
Chestnut Estates Conservation Cluster and Common Driveway Hearing
The public hearing will be continued at 7:45 p.m. on June 25.
Planning Board officers
Continuing with reorganization after town elections the board designated Michael Epstein as Chair, Greg Peterson as Vice Chair and Brian Larson as Treasurer. Carol Nathan had previously been elected Clerk. Acknowledging his new role, Epstein said, "The board was fortunate to have David Freedman as chair for two years and Louise Hara prior to that. They both undertook a lot of the board responsibilities. With Greg and me there will have to be some adjustments in board operations because of our travel commitments."
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