Court hearing expected on Otisfield cell tower

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OTISFIELD — The fate of U.S. Cellular’s proposed 180-foot telecommunications tower on Scribner Hill may be decided soon.

The Planning Board approved the application in January 2012, but the decision was appealed and eventually the matter taken was over by Oxford County Superior Court in Paris.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Hal Ferguson said the court has notified the town’s attorney that it will issue a schedule to the town, U.S. Cellular and Friends of Scribner Hill for submissions of legal briefs. A court hearing with all parties is expected.

“Apparently everyone will have an opportunity to be heard again,” Ferguson said.

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The Friends of Scribner Hill have submitted a series of appeals to have the Planning Board approval sent back to that board for a full hearing. The group says it hasn’t had the opportunity to fully air its own concerns about the project with the board.

In July, the Friends of Scribner Hill and individual plaintiffs John Poto, James Gregory, Kristin Roy and Joseph Brown, attempted to have the court remand the permit decision back to the Planning Board for a full hearing. The court asked only that the Planning Board document the facts and conclusions of law used to make its decision.

Since that time, the group filed more appeals that were heard by the Board of Appeals in the fall of 2012.

Town officials have been waiting for the judge’s decision before deciding how to proceed.

The tower would accommodate other cellular companies’ equipment and well as that of the Otisfield Fire Department.

“It’s in the court’s hands if you will. So we just don’t know,” Ferguson said. “The next word we get is from the court.”

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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