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.

Regards,

 Frank J Malinoski

President, Franklin Pierce Lake Association