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03/01/2016

Planning Board public hearing on Verizon Wireless antenna application March 15

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing Tuesday, March 15, 2016 on an application from Verizon Wireless to install cell-phone antennas on a decommissioned water tower at 11 Avon Road, in Shore Acres.

Verizon is asking to install three shrouded antennas at the top of the tower, as well as a 16-by-10-foot slab at the base to hold equipment cabinets and a generator to be used during power failures. The Planning Board voted the application complete at their meeting Feb. 22 and held a site visit Feb. 27.

A goal of the Town Council for 2016 is to consider a plan for 100-percent cell coverage for the community.

Individuals who have opinions on this issue should communicate to the Planning Board either at the public hearing or by email prior to the hearing. Emails should go to: maureen.omeara@capeelizabeth.org​. Application materials are available for public review during office hours at the Assessing/Codes/Planning office at Town Hall.

The application is Verizon's second attempt to gain permission to install antennas on the tower. In 2014, the town's code-enforcement officer denied Verizon's first request because he believed the tower, owned by the Portland Water District, was not a qualifying structure under the town zoning ordinance. The Zoning Board of Appeals upheld the denial, but the decision was reversed by a 2015 U.S. District Court ruling.

At the Planning Board meeting Feb. 22, Verizon representatives said they plan to paint the tower before installing the antennas. They also plan to submit more information about noise impacts, how the shrouded antennas will look, and about the water district's plans for remediating lead contamination found in soils surrounding the tank. A report prepared for the water district by Northeast Test Consultants in 2014 showed lead contamination from paint runoff in the top two inches of soil, no farther than nine feet from the tank.