Planning Board - Minutes: October 23, 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 visual impact consultant Audra Klumb and engineers Michael Deletetsky and Justin Desjarlais. 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 September 25 meeting were read and corrected and accepted.

The Board reviewed GTP's application for a wireless communications tower on the Seamans property on Besse Road, shown on tax map 6 as lot 17.

Mr. Hopkins outlined the requirements of The National Environmental Protection Act of 1969 (NEPA) and said that without a favorable NEPA report the proposed tower can't be built. The application responds to NEPA requirements in its Exhibit P.

As to the required scenic assessment, Ms Klumb outlined the process of floating a 4 foot wide balloon from the tower site and proceeding to visit the critical locations designated by the Town's Comprehensive Plant (CP) to determine the visibility of the balloon. She noted that there are 18 such locations indicated by the CP. Photos taken at these locations appear in Exhibit K in the application. The balloon was only visible from two of the 18 locations.

Mr. Hopkins noted that the cabinet shown in Exhibit J may eventually have to be replaced by a building though this is unlikely in a community as small as Vienna.

The evidence of financial ability required in Section 12 of the Town's "Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Siting Ordinance" (the Ordinance) was discussed.Waine said that an independent statement should likely be provided. Blaine said this could be provided.

A $16,000 letter of surety for eventual removal costs was noted. It was also noted that the Board may need professional assurance that this amount is sufficient.

In response to Ordinance Item 6.2.B). 15., which requires "Evidence that a notice of the application has been published in a local newspaper of general circulation in the community," Mr. Hamilton said that they would advertise at least one week ahead of time in The Kennebec Journal, The Lewiston Sun-Journal, and The Franklin Journal.

At this point the applicants are not requesting any waivers of submission requirements (as per Sect 6.3 of the Ordinance).

Sect. 6.4.C. requires notification of abutting landowners by certified mail. Mr. Hopkins has the letters ready but has not mailed them yet as the date of the public hearing has not been formally determined. He expects to mail them within 2 days.

GTP will mail Waine the Notice of Application which the Ordinance requires to be posted in a public place.

At this point Ed Lawless recused himself from formal participation in the review process due to the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The Board then voted 4 - 0 that the application is complete.

Creston will send the applicant a letter stating that the application has been found to be complete and has been accepted.

Creston will advertise and post November 20 as both a Planning Board meeting and a public hearing, both to be held at the Community Center.

The Board expects the requirements of Sections 6.2.B.12 and 6.2.B.13 and 6.2.B.15 of the Ordinance to be met.

Mr. Desjarlais outlined the engineering considerations that are intended to ensure that if any portion of the tower falls it will fall within an 85-foot radius. He conceded that if a terrorist blew up the base of the tower the entire structure would fall over. Waine asked about the possibility that a higher force might attack the lower portion of the structure. The engineers agreed to respond to this.

Mr. Hamilton stated that GTP is asking for a waiver of the Ordinance setback requirement, reducing it to 85 feet.

Concerns were raised about the proximity of the proposed tower site to the Jonathan Lawless house and the possibility that an alternative site may be available on the nearby Bobo and Berry parcels.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 PM.

Creston Gaither, secretary

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