Planning Board - Minutes: November 20, 2013


The meeting convened at 7:00 PM at the Town House; regular members present were Waine Whittier, Alan Williams, Ed Lawless, Austin Harrell, and Creston Gaither. Also present were Blaine Hopkins and attorney Andrew Hamilton and their Court Reporter along with about 17 Vienna citizens. Blaine Hopkins is an employee of ATC Realty, a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Tower Partners (GTP). Andrew Hamilton is counsel for GTP. Minutes of the October 27 meeting were read and accepted.

Creston had advertised this meeting as a public hearing on GTP's cell tower proposal in the November 1 edition of the Franklin Journal and had posted notices about it at the Vienna U.S. Post Office and at Flying Pond Variety. These notifications had listed the Vienna Community Center as the location for the hearing. It was not learned until November 18 that the Community Center would not be available for this purpose. So both the hearing and the regular Board meeting were relocated to the Town House. Notice of this was posted at the Community Center and the Post Office and at Flying Pond Variety and the Town House and on the Town website.

GTP has notified Waine verbally that they do not expect the Board to decide on the application until January.

It was noted that the Court Reporter is recording the proceedings.

Mr. Hamilton distributed informational packets labeled "Completeness" to the Board. These address items 6.2.B.12 & 6.2.B. 13 and 6.2. B. 15 in Vienna's "Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Siting Ordinance" (hereinafter "the Ordinance").

He also noted that GTP has been acquired by American Towers, a Fortune 500 company. He also said that GTP is not asking for a waiver of the setback requirements found in the Ordinance tonight.

He also distributed a packet labeled "Exhibits."

He also addressed the reasons they think alternative sites in the vicinity of the proposed site are not feasible.

He asked that we table the setback issue for now.

He noted that the proposed tower would be 252 feet from the Jonathan Lawless house, this being more than the 199 foot maximum tower height required by the Ordinance, the tower would be 363 feet from the Jesse Lawless property line and 384 feet from the Henry Bobo boundary.

The applicants may therefore eventually want to request a setback waiver if they can't get an easement from Jonathan Lawless.

Jesse Lawless clearly expressed his hope that the tower is not built and his belief that its visual impact would be excessive. He believes a setback waiver would be giving the applicants unacceptable "special treatment."

Jesse also provided photographs of the balloons used in the Visual Impact Study as seen from his house.

Muffy Floyd voiced concerns about the view of the tower from the Trask Road -- Blaine Hopkins conceded that at least 30 feet of the tower would be visible there.

Blaine also said that if this application is not approved they will most likely return with another application in 2015.

Peg Lang asked whether the tower would cover everyone in Vienna and asked that the balloon be flown again and the public notified of its deployment.

Blaine said that along with the existing Chesterville tower 90% of Vienna would be covered.

Peg also asked about the tax implications of the tower. Blaine said they'll be paying "lots of taxes."

Jesse Lawless asked about radiation emissions. Blaine responded that the tower would emit less radiation than a microwave oven or a TV screen.

Wayne Reynolds noted that he lives closer to the proposed tower site than do the Floyds and asked what its intended life would be. Blaine said this is unknown but said it would likely be 20 to 30 years.

The applicants said they are considering an alternative site at a higher elevation somewhat north of the current site.

The public hearing ended at 9:00 PM.

The Board continued discussions with Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Hopkins. They hope to know whether they can get an easement from Jonathan Lawless by Dec. 20.

The Board agreed to cancel its December meeting in view of the Christmas holiday. Creston will advertise this.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 PM.


Creston Gaither, secretary

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