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Rockland Council gives initial OK to cell tower restrictions

By Stephen Betts | Jan 13, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts Opposition to a proposed cell tower on Camden Street in Rockland has prompted the City Council to consider an ordinance restricting where towers can be located.

Rockland — The Rockland City Council gave unanimous initial approval Monday night to a municipal law that would restrict where cell towers can be located.

The proposal will be reviewed by the city's attorney as well as the comprehensive planning commission before the Council considers it again for possible final approval on Feb. 10.

The ordinance will have no impact on the 120-foot cellular communication tower being proposed for Camden Street. The Planning Board took no action on the project last week as it awaits more information from the company that wants to erect the tower next to a residential neighborhood. The board will meet again Feb. 4 to consider that project.

The proposed ordinance, sponsored by Councilor Valli Geiger, would limit cell towers to 100 feet tall. The law would also prohibit cell towers in residential zones and within 1,000 feet of residential or transitional business zones.

Geiger acknowledged at the meeting that the city cannot prohibit cell towers throughout the city.

Last week she said, aesthetics can be considered.

"We want to be sure not to create an aesthetic nightmare in Rockland," Geiger said last week.

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Comments (8)
Posted by: Ananur Forma | Jan 15, 2020 06:54

I need to make a correction for what I stated was not exactly correct. John Root is the one who gave Erik the information about the Camden Street Overlay which was read at the end of the planning Board mtg. January 7th by Erik, the chair person. This seemed to me to be a "slam dunk" comment. Also I made a mistake with what Judge Barry Faber quoted and read which brought about huge applause.. which was from the comprehensive Plan. These comments need to be reviewed and can perhaps in my opinion stop the whole darn thing, next to Pizza Hut for a tower of 120 ft. PLUS which does not belong there!!!! Also Vince Granese, property search person for Bay Communications, needs to look for other options for this tower. I have spoken with him about several options.



Posted by: Ananur Forma | Jan 14, 2020 20:05

Sorry to cause confusion - I was referring to what Judge Barry Faber shared at the mtg. January 7th  from the overlay plan that clearly states a vision for Camden Street. I was not referring to what Valli Geiger is embarking on in creating the new ordinance proposal. 10 ft. from the road means a cell tower cannot possibly be placed on the lot  at 182 Camden Street. I would love to see a lobster shack with picnic tables in the back yard. I'm pretty sure that the lot was envisioned to be a restaurant. Yes, of course I'm happy with the council working on an ordinance to protect all of Rockland residents and preserve the look of Rockland.  There are other options for the  proposed tower that have not been researched by Bay Communications. How do I know, where's the proof that they even called the businesses that they said they called?  Got no reply so they "give up?" Would the planning board like some proof, I think ....yes.



Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jan 14, 2020 13:08

The  "Acres" has spoken!



Posted by: Jack S Copp | Jan 14, 2020 12:41

The learning curve on this issue is very steep and will require a lot of  discussion to resolve.  If our City Council and Planning Board is a bit overwhelmed with all the factors in play here, it is understandable. However,  the Planning Board Meeting of January 7th 2020 proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that everyone in this neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods Do Not Want This Tower Here!  That is where the rubber meets the road and it could not be clearer. The direct and indirect negative consequences of building this tower in this location were illustrated by many thoughtful and articulate residents and other folks at that meeting. A short list of these include: 1) Devaluation of homes and property in proximity to the tower; this was proven out by the testimony of one of our independent realtors, and it absolutely refuted what the lawyer for the cell tower had said.  In effect the realtor confirmed the fact that  property values would not only decrease, but homes and businesses would be much harder to sell if this tower is built.   2) Blocked views to the residents of Pen Bay Acres and blighted appearance to the north gateway to Rockland. This may seem trivial at first blush, however, it is a quality of life issue . The testimony of  several current and new residents (taxpayers) spoke to the fact that, while searching for a new home in Maine, their search brought them to Rockland.  They then said,  IF there was a 12 to 14 story cell tower already in place next to Pizza Hut,  they would never had considered moving here, and I agree.  I addition, one resident said their family was trying to sell their home since October, and so far had no offers. This, in a neighborhood which has always had a quick turnaround for buyers and sellers. Could it be that their home was listed around the same time the plan for erecting this tower was made public, and potential buyers were waiting to see what would happen? Could be, and it may be a sign of things to come for this neighborhood, and for Rockland, if strong rules are not put into place.     3) "The Gorilla in the room",  Health and Safety- The mounting body of evidence that Radio Frequency Radiation (non-ionizing radiation) is harmful or outright dangerous to all living things is well documented with many peer-reviewed papers to support this. There is a virtual avalanche of information available to proves "to any reasonable person" that this technology will cause harm. Check out the Physicians For Safe Technology website, and check out the latest information on how our health will be affected by this insidious radiation.  These towers will beam their signals down into our neighborhoods and degrade the biome immediately, and in the long term, once this equipment is powered up. As you will see from doing a quick check, from the simplest fungus, all the way up to human beings, will all suffer negative health effects if this tower is built too close to our homes and properties.  If the idea of putting a tower that emits (R/F) Radiation right in the middle of a neighborhood filled with retired folks, working men and women trying to live their lives and insuring that their children grow up healthy and safe,  makes you angry, I totally understand. Although my children are grown men now, I too was there once. My wife and I would always watch out for our boys' safety, and never knowingly let them be in harm's way.  I know parents feel the same way today without a single doubt. Now ask yourself, if there was even a small chance that this tower and the (R/F) radiation it spews out would harm my growing child, would I agree to its construction? Or would I educate myself about this issue and protect them? Well, what else needs to be said about that?  As I said, there is a steep learning curve on this issue. City Council last night agreed to review the implementation of a new and protective comprehensive cell tower ordinance. It is critical that this ordinance be passed to help insure that our health, safety, home and land values, and quality of life are preserved. I hope that, once considered, this common sense ordinance will be made law, the placement of this tower will be moved (by popular demand), and all of us will live healthy, happy and productive lives.



Posted by: Stephen Betts | Jan 14, 2020 10:37

Ananur,

The ordinance prohibits towers within 1,000 feet of any residential or transitional zones.

Steve Betts



Posted by: Ananur Forma | Jan 14, 2020 09:46

Hi Gerald....It's NOT 1,000 ft. set back. It's a  10 ft. feet back from  Rte 1 from the Camden street Overlay.

the fall line makes it impossible for the proposed tower to be there, as I see it. I don't want to see it, period.

Council is very aware and dedicated to the people of Rockland ,they proved it last night.



Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Jan 14, 2020 07:58

I would like to see the map that defines what areas are left that would allow cell towers after the 1,000 foot setback proposed by Councilor Geiger is implemented.



Posted by: Ananur Forma | Jan 14, 2020 01:29

I hope that the meeting on February 4th at 5:15 p.m. sharp will again be jam packed with caring citizens of Rockland. This topic is far too serious to neglect. A cell tower of 120 plus ft. high proposed to be located next to Pizza Hut is a very bad idea, I hope that you agree. There needs to be a better location found.



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