Friday, November 30, 2007
Planning Board considers wireless facility applications
Applicants for wireless facilites at the First Religious Society and Sorli Farm continued to review their proposals with the Planning Board on November 26 and both were asked by the board to return with additional information next month. The Police Department has requested permission to locate antennas on wireless facilities for public safety communications.
Sprint facility in steeple
Planning Board Chairman Michael Epstein opened the public hearing for the application for special permit and site plan approval for a Sprint personal wireless communication facility to be located in the steeple of the First Religious Society at 27 School Street. Attorney Edward D. Pare, Jr. (Brown and Rudnick), representing Sprint Nextel Corporation, announced that the Historic Commission had approved the revised plans.
At a prior meeting the board asked Bob Koning, Carlisle Building Inspector, to review and comment on the proposal. In addition to criticizing the possible visibility from ground level of some power cables through the bell tower section of the steeple, Koning enumerated several items that will have to be addressed for application for a building permit. Included are extension of the fire-rated stairs to access the new equipment room in the attic, development of the power plan for connection to the existing service, design of a catwalk above the existing ceiling, protection of the Town Clock during construction, and the fire rating of the new equipment room.
Pare objected that application for the special permit should be decoupled from requirements needed for a building permit. Board member Ken Hoffman said, "Koning is doing them a service by giving such a list — if the design has to change to get a building permit they might have to go back to the Planning Board or even the Historic Commission."
Epstein concluded the hearing saying, "We should try to be in position to vote on this [application] at the next meeting." The hearing will be continued to December 10.
Sorli Farm Wireless Facility
Having approved a special permit for construction and operation of an 80-foot monopole Omnipoint antenna at the Sorli Farm (1022 Westford Street) at its October 22 meeting, the board continued the public hearing to complete its findings and to issue conditions for the permit.
Police antenna request
Chair pro-tem David Freedman said that the board was still waiting for comment from the Fire Department and has received comment from the Police. The Police Department would like provision for a public safety antenna on this and all wireless facilities in town.
Representing the applicant, attorney Brian Grossman said that Omnipoint would provide space rent-free, provided that it did not interfere with Omnipoint's operation of the facility. Member Brian Larson said that Police and Fire Departments typically use a 10- to 15-foot whip antenna.
Dave Alexander (Westford Street), an abutter to the Sorli property, made several comments in opposition to the entire facility: "It will be an ugly structure and will need a new [access] road. Do we really need to do this? We were assured that it would be a monopole with nothing hanging on it — now there is discussion of whip antennas." Vice-chair Greg Peterson said that would not be compatible with a "stealth" facility and that the Police Department should be asked if this is a real need in this part of town. The hearing will be continued on December 10.
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