ZBA to review proposed North Road cell tower on August 8

The plot plan on file at the Zoning Board of Appeals, annotated by Norm Sutherland
The proposal’s plot plan that is on file at the Zoning Board of Appeals, as annotated by Norm Sutherland

From the June 27, 2013 Zoning Board of Appeals agenda: New Cingular Wireless LLC, for 274 North Road, seeks a Special Permit per Sections 4.4.5 and 14.6 of the Zoning By-Law to construct a 125’ monopole tower with associated equipment and access road, and a Variance per Section 4.4.5.2 of a Zoning By-Law to allow tower within allowable setback for nearest residential property line. The Citizen received the following article from abutter Norm Sutherland who attended the June 27 meeting.

Special to The Bedford Citizen from Norm Sutherland

At its June 27 meeting Bedford’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) discussed a proposal to construct a free-standing wireless transmission tower on private property along North Road. Bedford resident Rosario (Sonny) Ferrante is in negotiations with AT&T, a subsidiary of Cingular Wireless since 2004, to erect the tower.

Simulated view of proposed cell phone tower, taken from AT&T’s plan submitted to the town
Simulated view of proposed cell phone tower, taken from AT&T’s plan submitted to the town

The 125’ monopole tower would be located at the rear of Ferrante’s property, visible from the historic Job Lane House, and to many North Road, Dudley Road and Huckins Farm residents.

During its June 27 meeting, ZBA members questioned AT&T representatives extensively about viability of alternate sites, safety issues in the event of a tower collapse, and other ramifications of the proposed construction.

The construction requires approval from the Town of Bedford, in particular to obtain a variance on the minimum setback from nearest property line.  The Town requires a minimum setback equal to the height of the tower (125’), but AT&T seeks approval of a 53’ setback.

The ZBA asked AT&T to come back with more complete information at 7:30 pm on Thursday, August 8.

Public input is welcome during the August 8 hearing, and written concerns may be addressed to Angelo Colasante, Chairman of Bedford’s Zoning Board of Appeals, Town Hall – 10 Mudge Way, Bedford, 01730.

AT&T’s plans are available for perusal in the Code Enforcement office at Town Hall on Mudge Way.


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John M. Sullivan
John M. Sullivan
9 years ago

What the photo above does not show is that AT&T does not want any tall trees falling on their tower! Being that the tower’s base will abutt the Huckins Farm property line, where the white fence ends for horse pasture, it’s within mear feet. All those tall trees for distance of a 50′ width you see will be removed leaving direct exposure to the tower and replaced with 8′ arborvitae to surround the chain link fence.
Further, if you search YouTube for cell tower fires and collapses, you will see a plethora of different videos whereby this has problem has occure a lot with monopoles.
In many cases, such as the recent Wellesley, MA tower collapse, the tower caught fire within the center section of the monopole (just like what’s purposed here), and burned up the transmission cables going through the center and ultimately setting the top a flame like a torch. Firefighters typically can’t reach these 125 foot towers well being so high up. You also have the compounded issue with putting water onto an electrical fire. The end result is that the support structure gets so hot it weakens the tower, and then topples over. In most case where these cell tower fires have occured, it’s been in an industrial location – Not residential. The sad part is that there have been a lot of these cell fires across the country.
Additionally, zoning requires that if the tower is 125′ tall that it needs a 125′ set-back. Here, the setback is only 53′. So if the tower were to fall or collapse, there’s a 75% that would do so on Huckins Farm property, or that of the abbutting neighbor’s land.
Another point to mention – I understand that in 2009 this same property owner along with another cellular carrier filed a similar appeal with the Bedford ZBA and was turned down on their request to build a tower. So why is AT&T now back again trying?
In my view there are several other alternative locations near by, such as the blue Water tower on Pinehill road, wich is at the highest point in Bedford. It set back and is NOT being used for cell service. In the town of Lexington they used their two town water towers as cell towers. So why was this not considered? Or even the huge water tower over at the VA hospital?
It just doesn’t make sense! AT&T will do everything within their power to ram-rod this throught the ZBA. I truly believe that there are suitable alternatives, but NOT located in a historic, and residential area with homes worth $700K. This will only to devalue our property, with this huge eye sore on Route 4. Aside from being ugly and potentially dangerous it’s a monolith to our neighborhood that we simply don’t need to have added!

Not Happy
Not Happy
9 years ago

Hopefully, the meeting on August 8th will be well attended. An educated exchange of facts and options would seem a good idea. As a resident of Huckins farm, I get excellent cell reception and would question the construction of the tower in this location. It is an important decision.

oldwiz65
oldwiz65
9 years ago

It’s all but impossible to get a signal in that area. They could hide the tower by using a tree like setup – there is one in Harvard along route 2 and while it’s a cell tower it just looks like a very tall but odd tree.

Marcia
Marcia
9 years ago
Reply to  oldwiz65

Unfortunately, trees will need to be cut down to construct this tower.
Have you seen pictures of what the tower will look like? Pictures of it should also show it without foliage as would be the case in the winter or without some of the present trees.

Stephan Hovnanian
9 years ago

That area is a dead zone. Please let it pass.

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