OTISFIELD — Otisfield’s Planning Board met on April 13 for further review of Verizon Wireless’ application for a cell tower to be built at 264 Bell Hill Road. The property is owned by Ronald Balistreri, who has a lease agreement with Verizon. Scott Anderson of Verrill Dana Law attended to represent the applicant during the process.

A public hearing for the project was held on March 23 and preceded the board’s last meeting.

Several documents that were introduced at the March 23 hearing were entered into public record at the April 13 meeting and shared with the board. One was a letter from George Chianis, vice president of Viridi Wireless LLC, on behalf of Virginia Arsenault of East Swampville Road. Arsenault holds a similar lease agreement proposal as Balistreri with Verizon; after surveys and simulations Verizon determined the Bell Hill Road location was more feasible and would require a much lower tower.

According to Otisfield’s Code Enforcement Officer Fred Collins, the planning board is not responsible for choosing the location for a cell tower; that decision is made by the applicant and Verizon Wireless has determined that Bell Hill Road is the best site available to them.

Otisfield resident Kristin Roy had also submitted documents on March 23 and these were accepted as public record on April 13. One was titled Conflicts & Severability Complaint and a second was a Request for Independent Review. She made three new submissions at the April meeting as well: List of Exhibits, Transportation Department and “Public Hearing Redress,” stating, according to the minutes, they were presented by her as an Otisfield citizen and a representative of the SAD 17 School Board (for Otisfield).

She addressed the board to state that the issue of severability needs to be addressed before Verizon’s application can be approved. The issue stems from verbiage in Otisfield’s Ordinance that runs counter to the Maine Planning and Land Use Regulation Act (Title 30-A, M.R.S.A. §4312). Planning Board Chair Karen Turino advised Roy that that point had been addressed during the public hearing and has no impact on whether the application would be approved.

Regarding Roy’s request for redress of the public hearing, Planning Board Member Herb Olsen advised her he spoke with Otisfield’s attorney Philip Saucier about it. Saucier said the the planning board could not go back and revisit something that took place during a public hearing; her recourse is to file an appeal.

Roy responded that she will file an appeal, stating that she was not able to talk at the public hearing. Turino pointed out that the minutes of the March 23 public hearing indicate that Roy’s comments were recorded.

The board unanimously voted to approved Verizon’s application conditionally. Among the conditions were plans for future inspections of the tower and onsite storage of materials, cost estimates for eventual removal of the tower and construction breaks during the nesting season for the northern long-eared bat.

Anderson stated that Verizon will review the conditions and he would provide the company’s response to the board in writing.

The next planning board meeting will be held at Otisfield Community Hall on May 11 at 7 p.m. The finding of facts for the cell tower proposal will be presented to the board by Turino.

Comments are not available on this story.