Friday, January 9, 2009
Update sought for town’s wireless facilities bylaw
At their December 23 meeting, the Board of Selectmen (BOS) endorsed plans to minimize the visual presence of cellphone towers by means of revisions to the town’s bylaws governing wireless communications facilities.
Michael Epstein took the podium on behalf of the Planning Board to discuss proposed changes governing installation of wireless facilities in town. He reviewed the town’s current inventory of four approved sites as containing the following operational and/or potential facilities:
• 871 Bedford Road (Anderegg property) – 189-foot monopole constructed and includes facilities for AT&T and Sprint, with permits issued for Omnipoint (T-Mobile) and MetroPCS and one space remaining.
• 1022 Westford Street (Sorli property) – 80-foot monopole for Omnipoint with ten-foot extension allowed with co-location of another provider.
• 27 School Street (First Religious Society) – stealth installations in tower permitted to Sprint/Nextel and Omnipoint (T-Mobile).
• 886 Lowell Street (Erickson property) – stealth installation permitted in barn cupola to Omnipoint (T-Mobile).
In considering new applications, Epstein said the Planning Board wanted to approve sites with “minimal impact to the community” and preferred:
1. Concealed facilities (in or on an existing building or structure).
2. Camouflaged facilities (in connection with an existing building or structure).
3. Co-location with an existing facility.
4. Small Form Factor Technology located on a utility pole or other structure.
5. Facilities camouflaged in connection with a proposed building or structure.
6. Concealed antenna monopole located on land owned or leased by the town.
7. Concealed antenna monopole not on land owned or leased by the town.
The Planning Board asked for feedback from Town Counsel on the proposed new bylaw, and plans to hold a public hearing prior to a presentation at Spring Town Meeting.
According to Epstein, the board currently has the most applications before it since 2006. He noted that the bylaw will “need to be revisited as technology changes” and hopes to review it in three-year increments. Michael Friedman, also appearing from the Planning Board, added, “It’s not an exact science; we’re just giving more meat to the guidelines so we can make better decisions.” The Planning Board also hopes to relax the 900-foot setback from vernal pools if other considerations are met by wireless applicants. ∆
© 2009 The