Town of Wilton, NH

Zoning Board Minutes

April 15, 2003

Voting Board Acting Chairperson Joanna Eckstrom; members Bob Spear & Carol Roberts; alternate members Eric Fowler & Ron Hanisch. Members Neil Faiman & Jim Tuttle were present but disqualified themselves from sitting on the case.
Clerk Diane Nilsson
Agenda AT&T Wireless PCS, LLC and Charles Crawford - Variance

Mr. Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and said that this is the meeting when the board elects officers, but it was suggested that the board delay that for a month because the Selectmen have not reappointed two members whose terms were up this year. Hopefully by next month this will have been done. He then explained that he and Jim Tuttle will be disqualifying themselves from the AT&T hearing and he asked Joanna Eckstrom to chair the meeting.

Case #4/8/03-1 — AT&T WIRELESS PCS, LLC (applicant) and CHARLES CRAWFORD (owner)

AT&T Wireless PCS, LLC (applicant) and CHARLES CRAWFORD (owner) have applied for a variance to the terms of section 15.3.4 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit the construction of a wireless communications tower on Lot G-24, Greenville Road (NH Route 31), which will project more than twenty feet above the average tree canopy height.

Mr. Faiman explained that both the application and the public notice said that the variance request was from section 15.3.2 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance. In actuality, the request is for a variance to section 15.3.4. which relates to the height of ground-mounted facilities. He left it up to the board to decide if the error was small enough to go ahead with the hearing.

Motion Mr. Spear moved to hear the application for a variance to section 15.3.4 because, even though the applicant listed the wrong section number, he quoted section 15.3.4 word-for-word in the application. Mr. Hanisch seconded the motion and all were in favor.

Craig Tateronis represented AT&T Wireless and explained that the applicants would like to erect a 150 foot mono-pine tower, which is a mono-pole tower camouflaged as a pine tree, on property owned by Chuck Crawford. He presented plans which show the location of the tower, the design of the tower and the tree canopy study which was done by Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. The average tree canopy height as defined in section 15.03.3 is 55 feet. Section 15.3.4 allows a communications tower to be up to 20 feet higher than the average tree canopy height, which in this case would be 75 feet.

Mr. Crawford’s parcel is 239 acres, zoned Res/Ag with an overlay business park district. Mr. Crawford would like to locate the tower on his property in order to offer direct microwave internet access to potential businesses that may locate there in the future as well as his own business. He explained that the site that has been chosen for the tower is hidden from nearly all directions. He presented a booklet of photo simulations which shows where the tower could or could not be seen from various locations in the surrounding area.

Chris Dwight explained that AT&T has co-located on the US Cellular tower which is located on NH Route 101 in Wilton. In order to continue coverage in the area, they need to erect a tower to cover the south Wilton/north Greenville area. Mr. Crawford’s location turned out to be an ideal location. AT&T originally wanted to construct a 75 foot tower on top of the mountain, which would be allowed without a variance, but Mr. Crawford did not want the tower on top of the mountain. The proposed location is much lower on the property and therefore needs to be higher, but it is much less visible than if it were on the top of the mountain.

Mr. Tateronis presented a letter from the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources stating that the plan, as proposed, will have no adverse effect on any properties or districts that are listed in or may be eligible for the National Register, or on properties of known or potential architectural, historical, archaeological or cultural significance.

Sandeep Goyal showed coverage maps for towers of differing heights – from 97 feet up to 147 feet. He explained that they could construct a shorter tower but would need tall repeater towers in other locations to get the same result as with the 150 foot tower. Fiber applications were also discussed but this type of system would not be practical in an area of topographical challenges.

Mr. Tateronis explained that the tower will support five other carriers.

Conservation Chairman Spencer asked about any wetlands that the road to access the tower will cross. He also wondered about any brooks that may need to be crossed.

Abutter Les Talarico said that there is a tributary of King Brook that will need a culvert in order to be crossed.

Ms. Eckstrom presented a photo she took of a mono-pine in Amherst and asked how the design of the proposed AT&T tower would differ. Mr. Dwight said that the mono-pine in Amherst has branches all the same length. The AT&T design has tapered branches that look more natural.

Mr. Tateronis read the five criteria for granting the variance and emphasized that it is rare to have the opportunity to erect a tower this tall on such a large piece of property, and have it be so well camouflaged that it is nearly unnoticeable. Because of the height, other companies will be able to co-locate on the tower and the need for future towers in the area will be lessened.

Spencer Brooks said that having cellular coverage in this part of town, from a safety standpoint, is a good thing because hikers who may be lost can actually call for help.

Motion Mr. Hanisch moved to grant a variance to the terms of to section 15.3.4 to AT&T Wireless to permit the construction of a ground-mounted “monopine” wireless communications tower on Lot G-24, Greenville Road (NH Route 31), at the location indicated on the applicant’s plans, with a height of 150 feet, which is more than twenty feet above the average tree canopy height. The motion was seconded by Ms. Roberts and four were in favor with Mr. Spear voting no.

Criteria for granting the variance:

Motion Mr. Hanisch moved to approve the variance criteria as written in the application. Carol seconded the motion and four were in favor with Mr. Spear abstaining.


Letters to Selectmen: Mr. Faiman provided copies of a letter he sent to the Selectmen regarding L.A. Limousine Service.

Discussion about whether to require 6 copies of documents pertaining to cases in question at the time of application to the board.

Motion Bob moved to require that the ZBA receive, at the time of application, 6 copies of any documentation: maps, site plans etc., that will be presented at the hearing. Motion was seconded by Eric and five were in favor with Ms. Eckstrom voting no.

A motion was made to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Diane Nilsson, Clerk
Posted: 4/21/03