Pier, cell phone tower public hearings set
Camden — Public hearings have been set for three anticipated projects in coming months; the Planning Board will hear from the public on applications for two piers Sept. 4 and a cell phone tower installation Sept. 18.
Both meetings will take place at 5 p.m. in the Washington Street conference room.
A residential pier is being proposed by Robert and Karen Brace at 25 Harbor Road. While the Harbor Committee made a negative recommendation, Planning Board members decided to move the application ahead. They will conduct a site walk of the property Aug. 27. The proposed residential pier will terminate in the outer harbor in an area Harbormaster Steve Pixley said is not very busy. He, too, did not offer any objection to the pier.
Expansion of the commercial pier at The Waterfront is also being sought by owner Sam Appleton. He said when renovations took place a number of years ago, the expansion should have also been done. He is seeking to "fill a hole" -- a 6-foot by 48-foot gap -- where there used to be a ramp to a dock.
"It's not the purpose to expand the restaurant," Appleton said, adding he would move less than a half dozen tables from inside to outside. "It would enhance the restaurant considerably. ... In the summer people will not eat inside."
He said patrons often will wait extensive amounts of time to be seated on the outdoor deck in the summer months and relocating tables and seating would allow for faster turnover.
Appleton's proposal reportedly received the support of the Harbor Committee but that information was not included in the Planning Board meeting packet of information. Pixley said the support from the committee was unanimous.There will not be site walk, as Planning Board members all agreed it was not needed.
Public hearings regarding both pier proposals were set for the regular Planning Board Meeting Sept. 4.
Members of the public will have to wait a bit longer to address a plan to install seven antennas on the towering smokestack that is part of Knox Mill as a representative of Northeast Wireless Networks requested time to gather additional materials for the Board.
Maureen Hopkins works for Portland-based Tilson, which was hired by Northeast Wireless of Falmouth to represent the company during the Planning Board process. She said the company hopes to install six panel antennae as well as one parabolic antenna on 10-feet of leased space on the stack. The equipment would be placed between 145 and 155 feet on the 170-foot stack, she said. The antennae would increase cellular service coverage for AT&T customers and possibly U.S. Cellular customers, Hopkins said.
Additionally, a platform at the base of the stack would hold cabinets housing other equipment. The platform would be blocked from view by an 8-foot wall, she said.
"Right now, it's a real eyesore," Planning Board member Richard Householder said.
Antennae would be installed on steel rings surrounding the stack rather than directly anchored into the cement, Hopkins said. All equipment would be camouflaged as well.
Plans to shore up the aged stack already are in progress by owner Matt Orne, according to Hopkins.
Planning Board members debated which ordinance was applicable to the antennae because site plan review is for a structure with a roof, which the smokestack does not have. Another sticking point was wording within the telecommunications ordinance that states antennae may be installed "in" a structure but not "on."
"They are allowed in that zone if you can't see it," Planning Board Chairman Lowrie Sargent said, adding it is possible to interpret the requirement as being above lines of typical sight and camouflaged.
Householder pointed out parabolic antenna are exempt if they are less than 7-feet in diameter, as the proposed Northeast Wireless one is.
Planning Board members asked Hopkins to provide additional visual projection of the installation from four areas in town with a view of the stack -- from High Street by the library, Mechanic Street by the Camden Villa parking lot, Chestnut Street and Alden Street -- as well as close-up projections of the camouflaged panel antennae. It was decided a site walk was not required, as Planning Board members are all familiar with the stack and its location.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect the correct proposed Waterfront pier measurements.