Pelham - Windham News
April 9, 2010 - 7
Tower - from front page
stockade fence. The facility will support 12 panel antennas at the 146-foot level and a microwave dish at a height that will be determined later. A 12 x 30-foot equipment shelter will also be installed in the site to support the facility. The core argument of Cellco’s testimony is centered on the belief
that Verizon has an obligation to provide a certain level of service and remedy the coverage gap. The facility will improve public safety by improving emergency communications in the northern area of Windham. It will enhance emergency communications that are critical during times of crisis such as severe wind, ice, or snowstorms that can cause communities to lose electrical and telephone service for extended periods. Coverage can change because cells breathe, so coverage can shrink or grow. According to Hildreth on February 23, “Verizon invited the neighbors to a meeting to talk about their concerns, alternative sites, and alternative designs. Verizon received a letter, politely declining the invitation. On March 18, 2010, at the Windham High School, a resident asked about looking at a site that is town-owned conservation land. In fact, a letter was written on March 24, 2010, to the Town Administrator to open up discussions about this site.” Attorney Richardson, representing Dubé, challenged the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) for the Town of Windham, stating that he is “at a real disadvantage and [this] does not [allow me to] have the opportunity to investigate what is alleged to be available.” The ZBA stated that “if Verizon shows the existence of a gap, they
also have to show there are no feasible alternatives.” From the research that Dubé has done, should the cell tower be erected, he has determined that his house will depreciate 10 to 20 percent. Of the 220 residents of the surrounding towns, 70 percent stated they would be less likely to purchase a home lot close to a cell tower, over 70 percent stated they would pay less for a house next to a tower, and statements from over 50 realtors and brokers support the claim that the appraisal of his home would be reduced 10 to 20 percent in value. Measurements taken by Dubé illustrate that the proposed cell
tower will be 750 feet from the window of his daughter’s bedroom. “Cellco has the burden to prove it meets all of the variance criteria and to show that its use will not harm the purposes established by the rural district,” according to Dubé. “The application disregards this requirement and provides no relevant information concerning the impact of the 150-foot tower structure would have on the uses allowed in the rural district.”
Dubé and his attorney continued to state that in order to demonstrate that denial of the variance will result in hardship, and that Cellco must show that the ordinance denies reasonable use of the property. Such a showing cannot be made as the property is already being used reasonably as a single-family residence. Cellco’s application states that its coverage is insufficient. The fact that it may have limited coverage does not mean that it has no coverage.
Verizon’s coverage maps using the Verizon Wireless Coverage Locator show that there are no gaps in coverage. Cellco can only show that it would be more profitable or convenient to use its own network instead of roaming on networks owned by third parties. Convenience and profitability are insufficient ground for a variance. A cell tower placed within a rural residential subdivision reduces
the value of homes in close proximity to the tower. Cell towers bring a negative impact to esthetics and health concerns, both of which contribute to a reduction in the value of surrounding homes. Dubé shared with the Board a current market analysis performed on his house on February 20, which clearly demonstrates that the proposed tower would reduce the value of him home between 10 and 20 percent.
Dubé continued to state that the following variance requirement has not been met and respectfully requests that the variance be denied: • Dubé’s property value will be diminished. • Variance is contrary to public interest. The rural district is intended as a district for rural, residential, and non-commercial uses.
• Denial of the variance does not interfere with the reasonable use of the property as a residence.
• Granting the variance would do substantial injustice to the residents surrounding the tower because property values will decrease.
• Deviation from the ordinance is clearly inconsistent with the spirit of the ordinance, which strives to protect the residential nature of the subdivision form commercial uses. Supporting Dubé’s position with regard to the construction of the
cell tower were: Bryan McDade of 6 Beacon Hill Road, who submitted 32 pages to the Board, including studies from surrounding towns regarding property values. Ms. Jennifer Allain of 8 Beacon Hill Road, who submitted a petition signed by 694 Windham residents who are against the cell tower. Ms. Alina Tobin of 2 Coachman Road, a Windham resident and licensed real estate broker, presented e-mails she received from other realtors, all stating that a cell tower would have a negative impact on property values.
Ms. Marie Hebert of 6 East Nashua Road submitted 15 pages and
two maps, and said that she purchased her property solely because it was safe from electro-magnetic fields such as power lines and cell towers. Neurological issues from a cell tower are real, and Ms. Hebert submitted information supporting her statements. Dubé formally requested a site walk by the ZBA. “Verizon is trying to demonstrate a ‘significant gap in coverage’ as this is a key point in the Telecommunications Act (TCA) of 1996 and subsequent case law.
I've provided coverage maps of other
Dunkin’ Donuts Parking Spaces ‘Too Narrow’
by Barbara O’Brien
The parking lot outside of the new Dunkin’ Donuts, located on Route 111 in Windham, does not meet the site plan approved by members of the Planning Board last year. Windham Selectman Ross McLeod originally
raised the issue a few weeks ago, saying that the parking spaces in front of the building are “too narrow.” McLeod said that it’s obvious that the spaces are narrower than required when one parks there, leaving little room between the vehicles. Following McLeod’s comments, Economic and Community Planning Director Laura Scott checked the parking area. Scott has worked for the Town of Windham for approximately one year, replacing former planning director Alfred Turner. During the March 29 selectmen’s meeting, Scott admitted that she had signed off on the site plan prior to the opening of Dunkin’ Donuts this past November. “I can’t guarantee that I checked the width and length of the parking spaces, but I did
submitted by Stephanie Wimmer, FLOW
Applications for this year’s Friends of the Library
of Windham (FLOW) scholarships are due on Saturday, April 24. Let FLOW help fund your college education. Once again this year, FLOW is pleased to offer both its FLOW Annual Scholarship and the FLOW Mary Long Scholarship. These scholarships, both in the amount of $2,000, are awarded to a high school senior who is a Windham resident. Requirements include a minimum 3.0 grade point average and three letters of reference. Applicants for the FLOW Annual Scholarship may be enrolled in any college degree program. Applicants for the
count the spaces,” Scott said. She also said that she doesn’t have any knowledge that the occupant (Dunkin’ Donuts) changed the area after she signed off on the site plan.
After speaking with the proprietor of Dunkin’ Donuts this past February, Scott reported that the occupant had agreed to re-stripe the parking spaces in front of the building, but needs to wait for better weather before taking on the task. Since that time, however, the occupant has requested a reconfiguration of the entire parking lot, an issue that will need to be taken into consideration by the Planning Board. Scott said that a hearing on that issue would most likely not take place until late April.
After further discussion, selectmen decided to
give the owner of Dunkin’ Donuts until May 15 to either re-stripe the parking spaces so that they are in compliance with the existing site plan, or to have received permission from the Planning Board to reconfigure the parking lot.
FLOW Scholarship Application Deadline
FLOW Mary Long Scholarship must be enrolled in one of the following degree programs: Art, Dance, Drama/Theatre, Music, Creative Writing, Communications, Broadcast Journalism, History, Art History, Architecture, Museum Studies, Art Conservation, Film, or Graphic Arts. Applications are now available at the Nesmith
Library, Salem High School, Bishop Guertin High School, Central Catholic High School, and online at www.flowwindham.org/scholarship.html. Applications should be submitted at the Nesmith Library. Scholarship winners will be announced at the Strawberry Festival and Book Fair in June. Contact Lisa Thornton at 434-3434 for additional information.
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providers and a video of me using those providers throughout the ‘significant gap in coverage,’ writes Dubé. “The TCA of 1996 does not provide for every provider’s guaranteed coverage and profit! The key point being [that] there is no significant gap in coverage when considering all providers. Furthermore, there is excellent Verizon coverage within at least a portion of the area they’ve cited as ‘significant gap in coverage!’ Verizon is working as hard as possible to not co-locate on the AT&T pole, which is 5,000 feet up the road from the proposed site. This is not profitable; rather, putting up their own pole is profitable for them as they intend to co-locate others on their pole.” “People must realize that should the ZBA approve of Cellco’s petition, then the Windham ZBA will be setting a precedent for all residential areas in the Town of Windham. What has happened to my family could very well happen to any other family in Windham, too,” continued Dubé. Windham’s ZBA has scheduled Cellco’s variance petition to be discussed on Tuesday, April 20, at 7 p.m. Residents of Windham are encouraged to voice their opinion by either attending the meeting, or by visiting www.stopcelltower.com.
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