Verizon submits revised plan for Cape Elizabeth cell tower

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Verizon Wireless has submitted a revised application to place a wireless communication antenna on top of a water tower on Avon Road in Shore Acres.

The application, which was submitted Jan. 29, will be reviewed by the Planning Board Feb. 22. Verizon lawyer Scott Anderson of the Portland firm Verrill Dana submitted the application.

This is the second application Verizon has submitted for this project. The first was opposed by some neighbors and town officials, which ultimately led to a lawsuit won by Verizon in federal court.

The dispute began after Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal in early 2014 cited aesthetic reasons for denying Verizon’s application to put an antenna on the 70-year-old tower at 11 Avon Road.

Verizon requested reconsideration in June 2014, but was denied by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Verizon sued the town in July 2014 in U.S. District Court in Portland.

U.S. District Court Judge Jon D. Levy on Sept. 30, 2015, ruled against the town on one of two claims by Verizon. Levy said the town was wrong when it said the proposed tower didn’t meet the town zoning ordinance definition of an “alternate tower structure.”

Although the tower has been dry for almost 10 years, an antenna was mounted on it to monitor water pressure and sewer pump stations for the Portland Water District. Levy said wireless antennas are therefore an alternative use to the tower’s original purpose.

The tower provided backup water storage, primarily for the fire department, for more than 60 years; it was drained in 2007, when upgrades to the town’s pipe system rendered it obsolete.

The new application is intended to address concerns of neighbors in Shore Acres. It says development won’t impact wetlands or traffic flow. It also says noise will be kept to a minimum and that Verizon will put equipment on the side of the tank away from nearby homes.

Project manager Charles Fredette of VitalSite Services said in the application that the project will benefit the town: “The proposed installation is consistent with the town’s goals of minimizing the number of new towers necessary to expand wireless services in Cape Elizabeth,” he said.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Verizon Wireless has submitted a new application to mount a wireless service antenna on this Avon Road water tower in Cape Elizabeth.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.
  • Mainer1

    Smart move, put he tower right in the middle of a residential area when 1/2 of Cape is undeveloped.

    • Darren McLellan

      Hmm…
      Perhaps if you read up on the subject prior to posting you wouldn’t look silly. The reason the water tower was chosen is it’s location. It’s in a part of town with poor coverage. The height is a bonus as is the fact it’s an existing structure thus removing most regulatory hurdles. There already are towers in other parts of town. The whole north side of town from 2 Lights Portland Head has spotty coverage. This will go along way to reducing the problem.

      • Mainer1

        You obviously work for Verizon

        • Darren McLellan

          Sorry. Try again..

  • Mainer1

    I’m sure the town can think of some way to exploit this to add another tax to the residents bill!

  • Ann Ferreira

    PLEASE, expedite this planning board!!