Claim approved cell tower application violates town laws

Union residents file complaint against planning board, town

By Juliette Laaka | Dec 03, 2013

Rockland — Nine Union residents filed an appeal against the town and the planning board in Knox County Superior Court Dec. 2 claiming it approved an application for a cell tower despite the project's violation of town laws.

The group, calling themselves the Union Committee for Protective Ordinances, are Elizabeth Burke, Jennifer Langley, Douglas Hamill, Susan Hamill, Brian Hilt, Sharon Osbourne, Theodore Keller, Jennifer Brooks and Hank Walker. They have filed the civil action against planning board members Marie Pease, Laura Curtis, Glenn Taylor, Aaron Holmes, Dale Flint, John Mountainland, and former Code Enforcement Officer Barry Norris.

The committee wants the court to vacate the decision made by the board, according to court papers.

The project, approved in July, is to construct a 90-foot wireless telecommunications tower at 48 Mt. Pleasant Road, owned by Glenn Burgess. The company entering into the lease agreement with Burgess is Bay Communications II LLC.

The zoning board of appeals denied an appeal of the decision by the plaintiff's in October.

"In reviewing and approving the application, the board made findings of fact and arrived at conclusions which were unsupported by substantial evidence in the record," the suit states.

The plaintiffs claim despite the application's failure to satisfy procedural and substantive requirements of the wireless telecommunications ordinance, it was approved. They also aver the plan is inconsistent with the municipality's comprehensive plan.

For a project to be completed and maintained, Bay Communications had to receive board approval under the town's wireless telecommunications ordinance, and all telecommunications facilities must comply with the land use ordinance and provisions of the site plan review ordinance.

The group claims under the town's wireless telecommunications facility ordinance, organizations seeking approval for a plan must meet with the code enforcement officer before submitting the plan to the planning board. The suit claims the application went before the board prior to a meeting with Code Enforcement Officer Barry Norris.

The committee is represented by attorney Jed Davis of Augusta.

Town Manager Jay Feyler said Dec. 3 he has not seen the suit yet, so he is unable to comment.

Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@couriepublicationsllc.com.

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Juliette Laaka
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Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.

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