As you know the Antrim Zoning Board approved the variance for the proposed 150’ tower that is clearly visible from most of the lake and will not provide cell coverage for many lake residents. Now that we all have had the opportunity to discuss it and receive feedback from many of our Members, the FPLA Board opposes the current site as it appears that insufficient due diligence was performed by both the Zoning Board and ITW the contractor for the tower.
The following letter was sent today to the Antrim Zoning Board appealing the decision:
The Franklin Pierce Lake Association (FPLA) is an organization whose 90+ members are homeowners around Franklin Pierce Lake, from both Antrim and Hillsborough, and individuals who do not live directly on the lake, but have access to it and take advantage of its beauty and what it has to offer.
FPLA’s mission, established in 2009, is to help safeguard the health and beauty of Franklin Pierce Lake. Earlier this year, before the lake residents had the visual experience of the balloon test, before a clearer understanding of the negative impact the tower would have on the visual natural beauty of our lake, and before we were made aware of the limited increase in cell phone coverage on and around the lake provided by the proposed tower, the Board of FPLA decided to take a neutral stand related to the proposed ITW tower at 115 Pierce Lake Road.
Now that many residents have returned to their summer homes and we have been able to engage in broader discussions regarding the visual impacts of placing the tower at that location, the limited value of that tower to meeting their needs for additional cell coverage, and, frankly, the apparent disregard of the ZBA members for the opinions of our residents, it is not only evident that this site is a poor choice for the location of a 150 foot cell tower but that the ZBA has failed in its responsibility to carefully consider alternatives to that site and its own Zoning Ordinance Manual.
There is no question that improving cell service on the lake would be a significant benefit that members of the FPLA would support, but it appears that alternative sites which are further from the lake and might offer even better coverage to those traveling on Route 9, the surrounding communities and to more lake residents have not been fully vetted.
Given this information and the events over the last few months, the Board of the FPLA now unanimously opposes the current site and supports the appeal to reverse the ZBA decision to grant the zoning request. Specifically, we demand that as a first step the ZBA immediately, independently, and fully investigate alternative sites.
If, after such investigation, it is deemed that the Pierce Lake Road site is theonly locationin which cell service to the lake, route 9, and its environs can be derived, then the height, construction, color, and look of this tower should be required to be as inconspicuous as possible. We recommend these actions based upon the stated purpose and intent of the Zoning Ordinance Article XIV-B which plainly obliges the ZBA to “provide for reasonable opportunity for the siting of PWSFs [Personal Wireless Service Facilities], … while preserving unique view sheds and scenic values of the Town” and “ensure compatibility with the visual and environmental features of the Town and that eliminate or mitigate the visual impacts of PWSFs.”
We look forward to a continued and fruitful discussion that will advance the needs of all of Antrim’s residents.
Frank J Malinoski
President, Franklin Pierce Lake Association
- All commitments, agreements and requirements made by the applicant and/or his agent during the application process are a conditional part of this approval.
- The applicant shall obtain a building permit for any construction or alteration, and adhere to all building, health and fire codes.
- Prior to the issuance of a building permit, the applicant will apply to the Planning Board for a lot line adjustment to resolve the issue of the facility being located over a property line.
- The tower will be of a Saber monopine style, as presented by the applicant in a photo on September 17, 2015.
- Prior to the start of operation, there shall be installed an Arborvitae vegetative barrier, the same height as the compound fence planted around the fence on the three sides that face the lake.
- Prior to the issuance of a building permit the applicant will have provided a bond in the amount of $17,000 for removal of the facility, as reviewed and approved by Town Counsel.
- Prior to the issuance of a building permit the applicant will have submitted easement agreements for the access road and the fall zone, as reviewed and approved by Town Counsel.
- The applicant has two years from the date of this approval to start construction; and nine (9) months after the start of construction the facility must be operational.
Art Kaufman is still leading a legal challenge and asks for your support. Donations to the "Pierce Lake Cell Tower Opposition Fund" are tax deductible and can be sent to - or dropped off at the Lake Sunapee Bank at 15 Antrim Road, Hillsborough, NH 03244. Art can be reached at 603 478-4844.
August 6, 2015: The Planning Board met, but no one was in attendance to report on the meeting. The key outcome was to visit the cell tower site on August 27, 2015.
July 21, 2015: The Antrim Zoning Board of Adjustment Meeting held a public meeting at 7:00 PM Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at the Antrim Town Hall to consider a request by Art Kaufman for a Motion for Rehearing for the previous granting of a Special Exception and Variance by the ZBA to Industrial Tower and Wireless, By a vote of three to one the appeal was denied.
July 16, 2015: 1st on the agenda was dealing with Tom Davis’s written communication regarding the legality of holding this meeting in light of the upcoming ZBA meeting regarding the appeal. He referenced NH RSA 676-A. Town legal counsel ruled that it was OK to continue. Chairman then read through the non-applicable and waived items on the ITW application. The two items that required further information were the site lighting and the storm water storage requirements. The engineers from ITW stated that the lights would be mounted on the structures and be shielded to direct the light down for entry purposes only. The storm water run-off would be dealt with by covering the 80’ x80’ site with 6” of crushed stone.
Questions were raised regarding the lack of visual materials for the public to view in reference to items being discussed, ITW corporate council offered to reschedule, Planning board voted to continue since we were all present and that it was likely no decision would be made that night.
Questions regarding the size of the poured concrete shelters were answered in that those carriers broadcasting in the 800 MHz range (Verizon & one other) would require 12’ x 20’ while the personal cell phone companies ( ATT, Sprint & T-Mobile) broadcasting in the higher frequencies could use the smaller cabinet size. Tom Davis raised the question regarding the set back from property lines required of shelters since the entire property is made up of four(4) separate pieces all owned by the same individual (Roblee). ITW engineers and corporate council stressed that ITW has a good neighbor policy and put the lighting requirements on amended application. Generator noise was answered iin that the generators used would be installed within the concrete structures and had hospital rated sound suppression. HVAC air-conditioning noise levels (decibel rating) would have to be retrieved as the ITW engineers did not have that info. After some questions were raised regarding the taking of pictures from various properties along the lake were answered. ( Pictures were in Section 5 of the application), the meeting was tabled for continuance on August 6th ,2015. The ITW application was deemed complete enough for acceptance subject to further information on those items waived.
May 26, 2015: Approximately 30-40 people attended the hearing on May 26thand not one spoke in favor of thecelltower. In spite of the extraordinary efforts of lake area residents, the Special Exception was granted with a vote of 4 yes and 1 no and the Variance for a 150’ tower was granted with the same vote count. Nancy Cone thanked the one Board Member who voted no. Thanks to the work of Art Kaufman an appeal is being prepared to present to the ZBA once the their decsion has been published. Otherwise the next step is the proposal will be brought to the Planning Board where we will have another chance to voice our opinions.
May 12, 2015: Over 30 people attended the hearing with no one speaking in favor of the cell tower. Mr. Delaney from ITW showed pictures of the proposed potential cell phone coverage from the proposed site on our lake along with the 16 alternate sites which were deemed unsuitable for various reasons. The hearing is continued to Tuesday May 26th at 7:00 as not everyone was allowed to present their comments.
April 28, 2015: This was a ZBA public hearing on the proposed cell tower to hear reasons why the request should or should not be granted. Minutes of the meeting can be found on the Town of Antrim website by clicking here.The meeting was in three main sections.
1. First Mr. Grill, the ITW lawyer, reviewed their request for a variance and why it should be granted. Then Mr. Delaney showed pictures taken on the day of the balloon test. The picture from each location showed the balloon and then an image with the tower. Most of the pictures were taken from Jackman Shores and a few other locations. Comments from the audience were that the pictures were not representative of life around the lake (boating, other locations e.g. Breezy Point), pictures that were requested were not taken (e.g. Kaufman residence) and the pictures did not convey the feel as seen by an observer.
2. At this point members of the audience were able to express their views. No one in attendence spoke in favor the cell tower proposal at the proposed location, everyone supported the need to have better cell phone coverage. The primary reason against the proposal was the negative impact of the view on the lake experience and requested ITW to consider other locations. Mr. Davis asked the ZBA to consider his property as a possible location.
3. In the ZBA discussion it was requested that ITW submit to them the results of other potential cell tower locations that were evaluated by ITW. The next ZBA meeting is on May 12, 2015 at the Antrim Town Hall at 7pm will review what ITW submits.
April 19, 2015: The balloon test was done on Sunday, April 19, 2015 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Two balloon’s were raised, one at 100’ and the other at 150’ which is the height of the proposed tower. The ZBA and IT&W representatives will then travel to various sites around the lake to take pictures in order to photo shop an image of how the monopole will appear on the landscape.
February 3, 2015: This public meeting was a hearing from the APPLICANTS (Industrial Tower & Wireless LLC hereafter referred to as ITW) with limited input from the public. They (the public) would be allowed to comment at a later PUBLIC Session. ITW presented the specifics of their proposal. They showed the dead zones and lack of coverage under the current setup ( Nearest tower is on Bible Hill Rd in Hillsborough) they showed how the proposed tower at 150’ height would increase coverage over all the lake, down Rte 9, 31 and 202 through Antrim. Tower height would allow the top 5 cellular companies ( Verizon, ATT, Sprint, T Mobile and US Cellular) to set up their antennae and ground support structures. The next important date will be a Balloon Test scheduled for Saturday 2/14/15 (this was delayed to April 19 due to weather conditions).
January, 2015: Industrial Tower and Wireless, LLC(ITW) requests a Special Exception per Article XIV-B, Section 4.