Friday, September 12, 2008
Planning Board shorts, Sept. 8
• Church Street wireless facility approved. Brian Grossman represented Omnipoint, Corp. in a continued hearing on an application for a special permit and site plan approval to install a cell phone antenna facility at the First Religious Society at 27 Church Street. According to the plan, the equipment is to be largely concealed in the church steeple and attic, with exterior air conditioning units located behind the building’s north side away from the road. The units will be in a corner where the old and newer sections of the building meet, and will be shielded by a concrete wall, privacy fence and plantings. The Planning Board had previously granted Sprint Nextel Corp. a special permit for a wireless facility at the same location. Because the facility was concealed from view and Sprint had not been required to provide escrow funds, the board decided it would not require an escrow agreement for equipment removal costs from Omnipoint in this case (see below.)
• Omnipoint escrow funds. The board approved a $15,000 escrow agreement with Omnipoint for their planned monopole antenna facility on the Sorli Farm at 1022 Westford Street. The funds are to ensure that should the usage end, the equipment will be removed and the site restored.
• 268 Fiske Street. The board voted to accept the final draft of the decision, originally voted on May 12, to approve the special permit application of John and Anne Ballantine to alter an existing driveway and create a common drive to serve two lots. The board’s written decision included a history of the hearing, findings of the board and conditions under which the special permit was granted. Conditions include the stipulation that the drive serve no more than two single-family homes, that utilities be buried beneath the drive, that construction of the common driveway be inspected by the board’s consulting engineer, and that a maintenance agreement be recorded with the plan. Chair Greg Peterson noted that a maintenance agreement had been filed on September 5.
• Carriage Way. The Selectmen had requested a Planning Board recommendation on the proposal to accept Carriage Way as a public road. Planning Board member Marc Lamere had inspected the stabilization of roadway landscaping and had found most trees that had been planted were doing well, with the exception of two small oaks. This compared favorably to last year, when eight or nine trees were found in poor condition. The board agreed to ask the owners and town Tree Warden to see if the two trees needed remediation, and if so to address the situation by the next Planning Board meeting.
• Planning consultant. A subgroup of the board held a preliminary meeting in August with consultant Jon Witten, who has been hired to help revise the town’s zoning bylaws and Planning Board’s Rules and Regulations. Witten intends to bring recommendations to a November meeting. The board plans to invite other town committees involved in land use to hear his ideas.
• Wireless leases. Planning Board member Brian Larson reported on progress of the subcommittee developing a request for proposals (RFP) to lease selected town lands for wireless communication facilities. The concept and a list of sites was approved by Town Meeting. Besides Larson, the working group includes Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie and Selectman Bill Tice. Larson said they plan to meet and finalize the RFP in early October, after which presentations will be given to the Planning Board and Selectmen, who will be asked for comments. In addition, Town Counsel will review the RFP along with the proposed lease agreement. ∆
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