Union sets public hearing for cell tower appeal
Union — A group of Union residents has banded together to appeal the planning board's approval of a cell tower to be constructed on Mt. Pleasant Road.
Union Committee for Protective Ordinances filed an application for administrative appeal with the town Aug. 24, according to Code Enforcement Officer Grant Watmough Oct. 2.
This action was filed within the required 30 days following the planning board's approval for Bay Communications to erect the much debated cell tower. The planning board completed its fact finding and approved the application by Bay Communication on July 29.
Watmough explained the appeal is based on a document, which outlines six arguments for the appeal.
The first states there is no record that Bay Communications inquired about co-locating on an existing tower on Ragged Mountain.
The second argues the planning board did not do a feasibility study on the option of using the existing tower on Ragged Mountain, if that tower was reinforced to support additional co-locators.
The third issue questions the lack of serious research available regarding the consequences on the environment and wetlands of building such a tower.
The fourth argues property values will decrease with the installation of a 190-foot tower, since property in Union is assessed — among other things — by its scenic value.
The fifth states "a cell tower of the proposed dimensions will not fit the desired rural character" according to the town's Comprehensive Plan.
And the final point argues the ordinances used in the review of the application were illegal, based on a letter to the editor from resident John Gibbons in April.
"Selectmen, acting in secrecy in executive session, overturned the latest three revisions of the town's land use ordinance," Gibbons said in the letter.
It goes on to say that "While the actions of the selectmen may have been for the purpose of improving efficiency and in good will, they were — nonetheless — illegal."
"Accordingly, we believe the Bay Communication's application for the erection of a cell tower on the property belonging to Matthew Burgess should have been rejected by the planning board and should be rejected now," stated the Union Committee for Protective Ordinances.
Members of the committee are Elizabeth Burke, Jennifer Langley, Douglas Hammill, Susan Hammill, Brian Hilt, Sharon Osborne, Theodore Keller, Jennifer Brooks, Gerald Brooks Jr., and Hank Walker.
The appeal will go to the zoning board of appeals. A public hearing is set for Thursday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at Union Town Office.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
594-4401 ext. 125
Beth rejoined Courier Publications' news staff in February 2013. She previously worked at The Courier-Gazette from 1981 to 1990.
Her coverage area includes Warren, Union, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington, and Thomaston and RSU40.
Beth has a passion for photography, and a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, in affiliation with the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport.
Aside from photography, Beth enjoys running and walks along the waterfront, as well as other outdoor activities. She has a daughter, Claire, who is 13.
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