Web exclusive, September 23, 2010
Brooksville schedules special town meeting on towers
by Jonathan Thomas
Acting on new legal advice, the Brooksville selectmen have changed course and decided to have the town vote on the two competing cell tower moratorium ordinances in a single open town meeting, rather than having a separate open town meeting and then a referendum election several days later.
The special town meeting will be Monday, October 4, at 6 p.m. in the Brooksville Community Center in Bucks Harbor.
At the September 15 selectmen’s meeting, John Gray announced that the September 23 hearing would be in the Community Center, and this information was reported in a story in The Weekly Packet September 16 issue. However, the town had already placed a public notice in that issue, saying that the hearing would be at the Public Service Building (Town House). Gray said on September 22 that since official notice had been given for the Town House location, the hearing would begin there, but would be moved to the Community Center if more space were needed. The hearing will begin at 6 p.m.
The first article on the October 4 town meeting warrant will be the customary election of a moderator.
In Article 2, the voters will be asked to consider enacting the moratorium ordinance prepared by the selectmen in response to an informal petition submitted after the plans for the cell tower on the Town House Road became public knowledge. The effective date for the moratorium in that ordinance goes back to early August.
Article 3 asks voters to consider enacting the moratorium ordinance that was submitted as part of a citizens’ petition following the August 19 hearing on the first moratorium ordinance. The moratorium specified in the second ordinance would apply to towers “not completed and operating as of July 1, 2010.”
As reported in the September 16 issue of The Weekly Packet, it is uncertain what effect either of these moratorium ordinances would have on the two towers now under construction in town.
The purpose of both of the moratorium ordinances is not to prevent cell towers from being built, but to create a 180-day period during which a regulatory ordinance on cell towers could be prepared and enacted.
Article 4 asks if the town would direct the town’s ordinance review committee to draft a regulatory ordinance for “commercial communication” towers. The selectmen have said that this separate article for a regulatory ordinance would not be needed if either of the moratorium ordinances were enacted.
The last article on the warrant is about wind power turbines. It asks whether the town wants to direct the ordinance committee to draft a regulatory ordinance for industrial wind turbines.