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Planning Board Minutes 7/19/2010
Meeting of 07/19/2010

Present:        James Deming
Thomas Paine
Jeffery LaCasse
Gertrude McKay

Meeting was called to order at 7:03 pm  by Chairman James Deming.

Old Business:

  • Minutes of Meetings held April 26, 2010 and June 21, 2010 were approved as read.
New Business:

  • Marcus and Nicole Colwell of 25 Old Post Road, Rye, NY, requested Site Plan Approval for construction at 189 North Trail, (Map 109, Lot 16).  They intend to build two decks, one 15’ x 18’, the other 20’6” x 14’.
  • This project has already been approved by the Conservation Commission and the Board of Health.
  • Since all setbacks will be met, the Site Plan was approved unanimously by the four members present.
  • Dean and Theresa Contaxis of 101 Lakeview Lane (Map 102, Lot 49), applied for Site Plan approval for the tearing down of a house and detached garage, and the construction of a new house with attached garage.  
  • The existing garage violates the setback on the left, by 8’ 10”, the front by 42’, and the right side by 10’.
  • The new building will violate the left setback by 4’ 3”, the front by 33’, and the right side by 10’
  • Since  non-conformity will not be increased, the Site Plan was approved unanimously by the four members present.
Public Hearing was called to order at 7:18 for the purpose of discussion and comment on a request by Bell Atlantic Mobile of Massachusetts Corporation, Ltd. d/b/a Verizon Wireless.  The purpose of the special permit is for the construction of a 140’ telecommunication tower, the installation of 15 antenna panels on the tower, the installation of a 12’ x30’ equipment shelter at the base of the tower, and appurtenant equipment and utility lines.  The tower is to be located on property owned by Robert & Jacqueline Bitso, at 288 Harvey Mountain Road, Tolland, MA (Map 401, Lot 18.1).       

  • Chairman Deming reviewed the history of the application
  • A Pre-application meeting was held, at which a number of waivers were granted to the applicant.
  • A Balloon test was scheduled and later executed on May 16th.
  • The required distance from a residence at 250 Harvey Mountain Road, could not be meet.  The applicant, therefore, requested and received a variance from Tolland’s Zoning Board of Appeals to override that requirement of Tolland’s Personal Wireless Service Facility (PWSF) regulation.
  • Mark F. Hutchins, a Radiofrequency Engineer  hired by the Town to determine if this application meets the requirement of having more than 50% of the cell tower’s coverage be within the borders of the Town of Tolland, attested to the applicants meeting this requirement.   According to the Engineer, 50.56% of the coverage falls within the Town of Tolland.
  • Tina Deblois, of 250 Harvey Mountain Road, next to the planned location of the cell tower, stated that from her property she has she has good AT&T coverage.  In an emergency, she called 911 from her home, and maintained cell tower reception all the way to Granville.
  • She asked “why can’t Verizon use the same tower that AT&T uses?  Why do you need another spot that is close to my house?”
  • Ms Ellen Freyman, representing Verizon Wireless, responded that coverage may work in one small spot at one time but the reliability would be inadequate to supply coverage for the area of Tolland.
  • Ms Deblois disagreed in that she had maintained coverage from Harvey Mountain Road to Granville.
  • Maria Montrosa, a Radiofrequency Engineer, discussed the reasons why a cell tower is needed at this site.
  • Verizon holds licenses in cellular (850 bandwidth) and in personnel communications services (PCS – 1900 bandwidth).  In the future they will be supplying new service in long-term evolution (700 bandwidth)
  • These existing and planned services will require coverage from this site.
  • Roy Jinks, a resident of 167 Rivers Road, asked why the cellar tower recently approved for 162 Colebrook River Road would not supply the service needed from the proposed tower at 288 Harvey Mountain Road?
  • Ms Montrosa responded that the tower is needed because of the mountainous terrain between the Colebrook River Road site and Route 8.
  • When questioned further, Ms Montrosa confirmed that the reason for the tower is to cover Route 8, from the Verizon site in Colebrook, CT up to the Tolland site on East Otis Road,   
  • Marjorie O’Meara, who lives at 140 Burt hill Road, spoke in support of the proposed tower.  She thought it would benefit residence in the area, and those who travel on Route 8.
  • Susan Voudren, who lives at 257 Hartland Road, also spoke in favor of the proposed tower.  She switched from AT&T to Verizon because she was without service for over two weeks during the ice storm of 2008.  She would like more reliable service for emergency situations.
  • Margaret McClellan, from Colebrook River Road, stated that Harvey Mountain Road and the lower part of Colebrook River Road do not have DSL access.
  • With the installation of a cell tower on Harvey Mountain Road, residents would be able to get a Verizon card for their computers, which would give them higher speed access to the internet than they currently get with “dialup”.
  • Sandy Carter from Verizon affirmed that this is correct.

  • Jeffrey Parrette, who lives at 267 Harvey Mountain Road, and who is opposed to this application, stressed the need for removing forty (40) trees 6 inches in diameter or larger, from the site, in order to install and maintain the tower.
  • Jeffrey Parrette also requested a copy of the numbers that Verizon used to compute the total coverage.  He wants to be able to compare these numbers with those of the Town’s Study.  These figures will be sent to him by Verizon.
  • Robert Bitso, owner of the property, which would be leased for this project, had a question on the overall height of the tower.
  • Ellen Freyman stated that the average tree height in the area of the tower is 86 feet.  Tolland’s Bylaw allows a tower to be 20 feet above the average tree height.
  • Due to the topology of the area, Verizon has requested a waiver to allow the tower to be 140 feet
  • Sandy Carter, from Verizon, remarked that they have been working since 1994 to supply coverage to the town of Tolland.
  • Sofie Drivit, of Clubhouse Road, questioned the safety level of the project.  Her concern was for Cancer Survivors and Patients living near the tower.  
  • Ms Freyman reported that the levels of RF’s submitted are at low levels, “just a fraction of what is permitted”.
  • Ms Montrosa gave a long discussion on the variation in RF levels caused by power used, type of antenna, and distance and angle from the antenna.  
  • Robert Bitso asked whether Verizon had met all other requirements.  The Chairman answered his question as follows, “all except for waiver on cell tower height”.
  • The Public Hearing was closed at 8:30 p.m.  A vote will take plate at the August 16, 2010 meeting.    

Meeting was adjourned at 8:31 pm.  

Respectfully submitted,

Gertrude T. McKay

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