Chairman: William Manter
Members Present: Richard Baker, Ralph Viscomi
Kim Ames (7:40 p.m.), Laurie Levy (8:40 p.m.)
Members Absent: None
Recorder: Melanie Rich
The meeting was called to order at 7:38 p.m.
Mr. Viscomi made a motion to approve the February 14, 2012 Meeting Minutes; Mr. Manter seconded the motion. Mr. Viscomi and Mr. Manter were all in favor; none opposed; motion approved. Mr. Baker abstained from voting.
Site Plan Review – M.A. Center (245 Linden Street Off-Street Parking) – Mr. Gasko said minor changes have been made (parking spaces have been moved to the opposite side of the driveway). Issues raised in Graves Engineering letter dated February 7, 2012 have been addressed. Mr. Gasko has spoken with the Fire Chief, whose request was to increase water storage capacity in the basement. Currently there is a 500 gallon container; the Chief requests 1,000 gallons be on site. Mr. Gasko agreed to comply. He said the house does have sprinklers. Mr. Baker said there may be a complication with the trees to be cleared. If they are not on the applicant’s property, they fall under the jurisdiction of the state scenic roads act. The number of resident parking spaces is an issue.
Mr. Baker expressed concern that the lawn would become degraded after six months of parking on it. The plan allocates parking for 16 residents, but Mr. Gasko does not believe the allotted spaces would be utilized continuously. Mr. Manter spoke with the Police Chief and Mr. Sahagian did not have any issues. Mr. Gasko also stated that the septic plan has been approved by the Board of Health. Mr. Baker would recommend conditions to require 1000 gallons of water be on site for fire protection, the trees at the drive be removed, consistent with the scenic ways restrictions, and the use of the lawn areas for parking be rotated. Mr. Gasko did not object. Mr. Baker made a motion that the Board approve the site plan entitled “Parking Plan, 245 Linden Street, Boylston MA”, prepared for M.A. Center, William Gasko, with the agreed upon conditions; Mr. Viscomi seconded. All in favor; none opposed; motion approved.
ANR Plan (1 Linden Street/109 Central Street) James Holyoak – Mr. Holyoak presented the Board with a plan which the members reviewed. The Board confirmed that the lots shown on the plan had sufficient frontage and area for the Heritage Zoning District in which they are located. After brief discussion, Mr. Baker made a motion to approve the plan entitled “Plan of Property Surveyed for James E. Holyoak, 1 Linden Street, 109 Central Street, Boylston, Massachusetts”. Mr. Viscomi seconded; all in favor; none opposed; motion approved. Mr. Zahariadis (Building Inspector) attended to say he had prior discussions with Mr. Holyoak and wanted to inform him that the lot is not legal under zoning regulations and it cannot be split. Mr. Zahariadis agreed the plan meets the requirements for
ANR approval, but he contends the parcel is still considered one lot under zoning and is not a legal lot.
Public Hearing – Special Permit Application (Verizon) 599 Main Street – Mr. Manter informed the audience that the hearing would be delayed to allow for the arrival of Ms. Levy. In the interim, the Board discussed amending the sign regulations of the zoning bylaw (see below). The applicant’s attorney, Mr. Klasnick, seeing only four board members present and after consulting with his client, requested that the board postpone the hearing until the fifth member (Ms. Levy) arrived.
Ms. Levy arrived at 8:40 p.m., and Mr. Manter opened the public hearing with all five board members present. He explained to the audience how he would conduct the hearing. In attendance were Daniel Klasnick (Attorney for Verizon Wireless), David Tivnan (Site Acquisition Consultant) and Doug Mondello (Construction Manager). Mr. Klasnick gave a brief presentation summarizing the application. The proposed location is on Town property at 599 Main Street, in the Heritage Zoning District. Zoning was changed in November, 2009 to allow wireless facilities in the Heritage District. The site itself was made available through an RFP initiated by the Town. He explained the relief requested and the waivers required. The area of the site is 20’ x 80’. Existing access will be used. The proposed facility is 176’ from the nearest residence, and there are existing trees between the tower and the residence. There will be no clearing of trees. There will be a 140’ monopole on which twelve
antennas (four panels at each array) will be deployed, providing for a minimum of six carriers. Equipment on the ground enclosure, including a back-up generator will be enclosed by a 6’ chain link fence topped with barbed wire. Photo visualizations were selected at various sites within a two mile radius. Mr. Klasnick referred to the coverage map in the application which shows a substantial gap in service in Boylston. Mr. Viscomi asked about the time to completion and was told approximately three months.
Referring to the Graves Engineering Site Plan Review Letter dated February 16, 2012, specifically stormwater management, Mr. Mondello stated that Chappell Engineering Associates reviewed the site plan and said that the development of the site will actually decrease the amount of impervious surfaces of the existing property by approximately 882 square feet. Mr. Klasnick stated that a temporary siltation fence and dewatering basin will be installed during construction to provide erosion control within the affected areas.
The hearing was opened to comments from the audience.
Dick Prince (14 Cottonwood Place) asked about the monopole's ability to withstand high winds. He was told it is designed to Rev. G standards (Worcester County standards) and is very strong.
Wayne MacNeil (22 Woodland Drive) stated his opposition to the proposal. He also asked about an article in the Banner stating that the town approved another tower on Mile Hill Road. Mr. Baker informed him that the Board has not entertained any application for Mile Hill Road. A Verizon representative stated that both sites would eventually be required for full coverage. Ms. Levy confirmed that the Board has had no discussions about a Mile Hill tower and no permits were issued. Mr. MacNeil pointed out that the proposed monopole is in the Heritage District and is highly visible. In addition, he maintained it is not permitted by the bylaws, and it is not a marginal variance being requested. He said it will affect the Heritage District and the residents that are near it. He went
on to ask about the financial benefit to the town. Mr. Manter was unable to provide financial details of the lease. Mr. MacNeil said the image of the town will be negatively affected. He pointed out that his street is an environmentally protected area and asked if the applicant had notified the EPA. He asked if the Historical District and MDC had been notified. Mr. Manter said the MDC was notified because they were an abutter. Mr. MacNeil asked who will be responsible now or in the future for health concerns. A Verizon representative said that a radiation study was conducted, and fully loaded at maximum power, it would be possible to have 200 such facilities and still be within the safety guidelines. Ms. Levy told the audience that she had lived by a cell tower that was close to her house. She did extensive research to make sure her children would be safe. She was told by an engineer that her exposure from the tower would
be much less than holding a cell phone to one's ear. Mr. MacNeil said he doesn’t see the need for the proposed tower, and he asked the Board to look out for the neighbor's interests. Ms. Levy pointed out that while the Board must rule on the application, it was the town that voted to allow wireless facilities in the Heritage District. The 599 Main Street site was known at the time the zoning change was approved at town meeting.
Mr. Manter said the facility would provide better wireless reception for residents of the town. He takes into account the Historical District and empathizes with their goals. Mr. MacNeil asked if there was another location to accommodate the antennas needed. A Verizon representative said they did research and looked at all existing towers, steeples, the water tower, etc. It was asked if the any of the towers were going to be used by over-flying planes. The Verizon representative said they could not be used.
Mr. MacNeil asked about decorations or camouflage. Mr. Klasnick stated that it is a difficult location for that. The representative said that to accommodate the increased weight of the branches and to contend with wind, ice, snow, the monopole would have to be custom built and would be significantly larger in diameter at the base. Mr. Baker asked if there were drawings of the antenna designs. Mr. Klasnick referred to the application materials showing the twelve antennas deployed in 360º to obtain necessary coverage.
Beth Anderson (25 Woodland Drive) asked how many parking spaces at the Town House would be lost. Mr. Klasnick replied that the facility was taking away only a 20' x 70' area. An audience member asked if this matter must go before the Zoning Board or did the Planning Board have sole authority to make the decision. He was told the Planning Board has the sole authority.
Deborah Klingener (600 Main Street) asked about safety and was told the tower would be enclosed with a 6’ chain link fence with barbed wire on the top. Several residents expressed concerns with resale value of their properties. Mr. Baker asked if there had been any studies conducted with regard to cell towers and real estate values. Mr. Klasnick said that studies have not found a significant difference in resale values of comparative properties near and not near a cell tower.
Ms. Ames asked what the town will receive. The Verizon representative stated that the town would receive $25,000/year with 3% escalation, plus 25% of any co-location revenues.
Mr. MacNeil asked if there was a list of residents who want the tower. Mr. Viscomi stated that based upon a vote at Town Meeting, the town wants it. Mr. MacNeil stated that they are not opposed to the tower, just the location. Ms. Levy said that the residents were aware of the location at the town meeting. Mr. MacNeil said it doesn’t meet the bylaw. Mr. Baker informed those present that the Board has authority to waive setback requirements and a responsibility to minimize the impact. He further said both the state and federal government rules make deployment of wireless service a priority, and Verizon has shown a need for a facility to fill a coverage gap. A possible location on Mile Hill Road is not a reason to deny this application. Mr. Baker felt in his opinion that the applicant
left no stone unturned to find a suitable location.
A resident asked about noise. Mr. Klasnick said that noise comparisons were established for the emergency generator. There are only limited times it would be used. It is located inside the fenced area, and Verizon proposes to shield with noise-absorbing materials. The exhaust fan has a central grade silencer. Ms. Anderson asked how much space is to be used by for other carriers. Mr. Klasnick said there is none. The shelter is for Verizon Wireless equipment. Mr. Klasnick also stated that not all carriers use shelters; some use cabinets. Modification to the existing equipment would require approval from the Board. Mr. Baker asked if the fence would need to be expanded if co-locators are added. Mr. Klasnick said yes. Mr. Viscomi asked if there was room
to do that. Mr. Klasnick said they worked with the town on that issue. Mr. Viscomi asked if any of the photos taken were from the abutters’ view. Mr. Klasnick stated that they do not go on to abutters properties. The photo renderings are taken from road locations where the balloon is visible.
Ms. Anderson asked if every new co-locator requires a generator. Mr. Klasnick said most carriers don’t have them; they use battery backup.
Mr. Baker told Mr. Klasnick that the Board would welcome a draft decision.
Mr. Manter said that the Board requires more time to reach a decision. He thanked the audience for attending and continued the hearing to April 2nd at 8:00 p.m.
Public Hearing (continued) – Amend Subdivision Rules & Regulations – The requirement for fire cisterns was discussed. Mr. Baker said input is still needed from Joe Flanagan regarding the final language. Adding an appendix of forms was also discussed. Mr. Baker will check with the CMRPC. No new decisions were made tonight. The hearing will be continued to April 2nd at 8:30 p.m.
Sign Bylaws – The Board reviewed a draft sign bylaw provided by former Town Administrator Nancy Colbert Puff and edited by Mr. Baker. Bill Filsinger (ZBA) had an issue with the language not being consistent. He said it is unclear who has jurisdiction for signs in the Industrial District. Mr. Baker said the only changes added are in the section entitled "General Regulations" and he questioned if adding this section would be a meaningful improvement. No consensus was reached. If the Board moves forward, a public hearing will be required before the town meeting in May. More discussion will take place at the April 2nd meeting.
Mr. Viscomi made a motion to adjourn; Ms. Ames seconded; all in favor; none opposed. The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 p.m.
1. Draft Subdivision Rules & Regulations
2. Draft Sign Regulations
3. M.A. Center (245 Linden Street) Off-Street Parking Plan (on file in PB office)
4. ANR Plan (1 Linden Street/109 Central Street) for James Holyoak (on file in PB office)
5. Verizon Special Permit Application (599Main Street) (on file in PB office)