News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, February 14, 2013
Sedgwick voters to have last word on ordinance at town meeting

by Bette Britt

Rather than speculate on where the next tower may sprout, local voters will have a chance at town meeting on March 2 to vote on a Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance. The document has been drawn up by members of the planning board who, since August, have been working under a moratorium to regulate future development.

At a special meeting on January 29, planning board members met with selectmen to review the results of their work, and at the end of the meeting, voted to approve the ordinance, have it posted around town 15 days before town meeting and bring it to a vote. The ordinance is not unlike one previously passed by the neighboring town of Brooklin, according to planning board chairman John Allen.

Having worked on wording with attorney Diane O’Connell, planning board member Peter Neill told listeners he’d reviewed the ordinance for what seemed like “100 times.” He said “it turns out to be a pretty good thing.”

To summarize, there are 11 sections to the proposed ordinance beginning with ordinance administration and running through review and approval of application, requirements for submission to planning board review, various site requirements to be met, fees, a public hearing and final application review.

Planning board review standards are specific as to “a new wireless telecommunications facility and related equipment (which) must be designed and constructed to accommodate expansion for future co-location of up to three additional wireless telecommunications facilities” on the same tower.

The tower cannot be more than 190 feet in height and is subject to standards in siting. Any project for tower construction must pass the town’s Site Plan Review Ordinance “in addition to satisfying all the review criteria in the Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance.” Beyond submission requirements for initial review by the Planning Board—such as name of landowners, a deed to the property and schedule of construction—the proposed ordinance includes amendment issues, a list of “what ifs” the site is abandoned, accepts co-location or changes to ownership.