The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 13, 2008

Omnipoint wireless application picks up where it left off

Omnipoint returned to the Planning Board on June 9 to continue their application for a wireless facility at the First Religious Society. Outgoing Chair Michael Epstein noted it had been three months since the company had been to the board and questioned the delay. Brian Grossman of Prince, Lobel, Glovsky, and Tye, representing Omnipoint, said the company had been in negotiations with Sprint/Nextel, which has the lease rights to the steeple, to take over the lease for the lower part. Sprint decided not to release their rights, so Omnipoint is returning to their original plan for an installation below Sprint’s area. In addition, Omnipoint had appeared before the Historical Commission, which approved the plan after asking that two GPS antennas be moved to the chimney at the rear where they would be less visible than on the steeple.

Grossman said he hoped to wrap up the application, but Epstein countered, “I don’t think we’re there yet.” He said the long delay and the last-minute distribution of the changed plan required the board to take more time to re-familiarize themselves with the details. In addition, a new building inspector has come on board and Grossman was requested to have him look at the plan, which had previously been reviewed by the interim commissioner.

Associate Planning Board member David Freedman noted a couple of conditions that should be part of the approval, one to test the range of this and the Sorli cell tower for actual coverage once it is installed. The other was to release the lease if there were a merger with Sprint that eliminated the need for a separate installation. Brian Larson was concerned that the details of HVAC and other equipment installation be worked out with Sprint, and Grossman assured him the two companies have been in touch. Kent Gonzales noted that, in his experience, communications companies “work pretty well together and are pretty respectful” of each other’s requirements.

It was reported that Sprint may be delaying its installation and may not have the building pad, screening, and fence installed before Omnipoint is ready. Grossman said Omnipoint would be willing to take on those tasks if necessary, and Freedman asked that their application include the requirements for those pieces in case that is necessary.

Omnipoint had requested that the town accept a letter of credit instead of cash for the escrow account required for a building permit. Grossman said that the “vast majority” of cities and towns allow “some agreement other than a cash bond” which ties up company funds. Greg Peterson noted that letters of credit are subject to inflationary loss, are less liquid and have other issues. Larger cities “have got the staff to deal with that. We just don’t.” Grossman will relay Carlisle’s concerns.

Epstein expressed exasperation, “I don’t like this incremental approach” where an application sits for several months. Grossman pressed for an early decision, but it seemed unlikely the building inspector could be scheduled before the June meeting. A continuance was scheduled for July 28 at 8 p.m. and Grossman was asked to return with “scrubbed plans” and the report of the building inspector. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito