The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 31, 2008

Planning Board sees request for new antenna inside Bedford Road monopole

Attorney Brian Grossman, an associate at Prince, Lobel, Glovsky and Tye, submitted the special permit application for a “stealth” wireless communication facility by Metro PCS at the October 27 Planning Board meeting. The proposed new antenna system will be located inside the previously permitted 189-foot monopole, owned by Bay Communications, LLC at 871 Bedford Road (Map 11, Lot 1).

If granted, Metro PCS would become the fourth company to lease space within the monopole. According to Planning Administrator George Mansfield, the monopole has slots for six antenna arrays, four of which have already been assigned to wireless service providers. He said that AT&T has the top two spots, Sprint has the third and T-Mobile/Omnipoint has the fourth slot. Metro PCS is requesting a permit to use the bottom slot, which would leave one slot unassigned.

Application needs rework

In quick order the almost two-inch-thick application was determined to be responsive to the relevant bylaw as it existed back in 2000. Further, discrepancies were noted between the application and some supporting data submitted by Grossman that very evening. Returning the material to Grossman, Chair Greg Peterson said, “I assume it will be a relatively straight-forward application. So that we can efficiently prepare a decision on a timely basis, please submit an application that relates to the current bylaw.”

The public hearing will be continued at 8 p.m. on November 10. Grossman was asked to submit material before noon of the Thursday before the meeting in order for there to be sufficient time for individuals to review it before the meeting. Associate members David Freedman and Tom Lane were designated to participate in review of the application.

Wireless bylaw revisions

Member Michael Epstein reported on the progress of a subcommittee charged with recommending changes to Section 5.9 of the Carlisle Zoning Bylaws covering Personal Wireless Communications Facilities. He said that one of their goals is to “encourage less intrusive facilities as the technology evolves.”

Two substantive changes relate to the 900-foot setback rule. The first proposed change would exempt certain types of structures from the 900-foot setback requirement: small-form-factor-technology installations (relatively small antennas mounted on utility poles at the street), concealed facilities (for example, in a church steeple or cupola) and camouflaged facilities in an existing building or structure.

The second change would eliminate the 900-foot setback from wetlands, vernal pools and habitat of rare and endangered species, and would allow state and local regulations to dictate the required setback. The discussion will continue at the November 24 meeting.

Other zoning bylaw changes

relate to 40B housing

Reacting to a “menu” of possible topics for revision to the zoning bylaws that was submitted by board consultant Jon Witten on October 27 the Planning Board’s discussion focused on items that could facilitate management of future 40B developments. Under current state law Chapter 40B, a developer can bypass usual zoning regulations and can apply for a comprehensive permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. A portion of any 40B development must be affordable housing. Peterson suggested that any revisions should “maintain flexibility for people who want to do conventional development while giving flexibility to get 40B development that we want.”

Mansfield was asked to schedule a conference call with Witten in order to structure an agenda for a subsequent meeting with the board.

Fee waiver discussion

The presence of Selectman Alan Carpenito as liaison to the board precipitated some discussion of site plan review and filing fees. Musing that it probably cost more than $1,000 for the board staff to process the recent review for the Ferns Country Store expansion, in addition to costs incurred by other supporting boards, several members criticized the Selectmen’s decision to waive some of the site review application filing fee.

Epstein asked Carpenito to take these concerns back to the Board of Selectmen: “There should be adequate fees to cover the cost of town resources.” ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito