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June 10. 2014 10:42PM

AT&T renews efforts to build tower in city neighborhood

MANCHESTER — With a federal court ruling on its side, AT&T returned to City Hall last week, hoping for quick approvals to build a 100-foot “monopine” tower in a South Mammoth Road residential neighborhood.

Representatives of the telecommunications giant appeared before the Manchester Planning Board on Thursday to present their site plans for the tower, which they described as a “monopine” — a tower disguised as a pine tree.

 

Residents of the neighborhood, who have contested it at several Zoning Board of Adjustment hearings, continued to take issue with the tower.

The board made no decision on the site plan last week.

In February, U.S. District Court Judge Steven McAuliffe ruled that the city zoning board was wrong to deny a variance and ordered the tower to move forward. With that ruling in hand, AT&T has submitted siting plans for the tower, which it said will have 12 panel antennas, a low-profile platform, and 21 remote radio heads.

The use of the tower by other wireless carriers will minimize the need for further towers in the city, AT&T said, and the location of the equipment among existing trees will mitigate its view.

Kathy Sullivan, a neighbor and Manchester lawyer, urged the planning board to reject AT&T’s request to waive city requirements for a landscape plan.

With a landscape plan on the books, AT&T will have to ensure that it maintains the screening that it refers to in its site plan material, Sullivan wrote to the board. It is also necessary for the monopine concept, she said.

“For the disguise to have any real use, there have to be real trees around it,” Sullivan wrote.

Another neighbor, Alex Saidel, asked the planning board to consider diminished property values and to require AT&T to pay for annual testing of the “emissions” connected to the tower.

AT&T said McAuliffe’s ruling showed there would be no effect on property values, and federal law preempts any consideration of health impacts of towers.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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