OTISFIELD — Friends of Scribner Hill organizer John Poto said Thursday that if a contract has been signed for a commercial telecommunications tower, townspeople should be made aware of the terms.
“This is not a tower issue per se, more importantly it is an issue of town officials and boards choosing to not adhere to all the requirements of the ordinances that exist to protect the town and all of its residents,” Poto said in an email to the Sun Journal.
The cell tower issue began almost 11 months ago when the Planning Board approved the permit application by U.S. Cellular for a 180-foot tower to hold equipment for cellular phone companies and the Otisfield Fire Department.
Poto said the structure is described as a 180-foot tower “to hold equipment for cellular companies and the Otisfield Fire Department” but that description is not a true representation of what was approved by the Planning Board.
Poto contends the tower is a commercial telecommunications tower and under the town's ordinance, a condition of approval is that “Public safety can utilize the tower contingent upon mutual agreeable contract.”
“If a contract has been agreed upon, the public should be made aware of the terms. If it has not been agreed upon, this reference appears to be another ploy by town officials to garner public support,” he said.
An Appeals Board hearing is set for 7 p.m. Nov. 15 in the East Otisfield Community Hall on Route 121. It's the third appeal by Friends of Scribner Hill, which contends planners did not follow town ordinance and parts of the town Comprehensive Plan when it approved the application in January.
Selectman Rick Micklon said Thursday that he supports Friends of Scribner Hill and Poto in their right to appeal, but as a selectman, it is his duty to protect the town from a lawsuit.
“If they sue us, we're going to protect ourselves from their lawsuit,” Micklon said. “There are no hard feelings. We'd just like it to be decided by the court.”
Friends of Scribner Hill also appealed to Oxford County Superior Court in Paris, asking that the case be sent back to planners for a full hearing. The court said it would hold off on a decision until after the latest hearing. The court also took jurisdiction of the case.