2007-02-01 / Front Page

Cell phone antenna gets okay from zoning board

By Sam Bari

The application for a specialuse permit by Omnipoint Communications, Inc. was unanimously approved at the Jan. 23 meeting of the Zoning Board of Review.

Omnipoint, a wholly owned subsidiary of T-Mobile, USA, Inc., applied for a special-use permit to install a wireless communications facility on town-owned property at 96 Howland Ave. The application included dimensional variances to exceed the height limitation by placing an antenna on a water tower located on the parcel, and a 5.9-foot backyard setback required to install radio equipment in a 15- by 15-foot leased area.

The comprehensive presentation to the board was made by attorney Brian S. Grossman of Prince, Lobel, Glovsky &Tye of Boston, Mass., assisted by Elijah Luutu, the engineer who designed the facility.

Omnipoint agreed to surround the leased area with a wooden fence and adequate foliage to act as a buffer on the sides exposed to residential areas. The .52-acre lot located in a public zone is primarily used for the town water towers and is shared by three other wireless companies requiring communications facilities.

In other business, the zoning board considered the application of Patricia A. Evangelista, whose property is located at 28 Coulter St., requesting a variance to construct a garage 5 feet from the side lot line instead of the required 10 feet. Local attorney James Donnelly represented Evangelista. The current non-conforming accessory structure located on the property has 3-foot, six-inch side and a 2- foot, six-inch frontage setbacks, he said. The building is structurally unsound and beyond rehabilitation, and the applicant proposed to replace the structure with a new garage that provides greater storage and improved compliance with setbacks, Donnelly said. The new garage is designed to provide additional storage and workshop space, he noted.

Local attorney Quentin Anthony represented property abutters opposed to the proposed application.

After a lengthy discussion among the board members, the application was denied with a vote of 1-4. Vice Chairman Don Wineberg voted in favor of the application.

After intense debate about whether to hear the application of Patrick Kilroy, who owns a lot on Conanicus Avenue, or send the applicant to the Planning Commission for consideration, the board elected to review the request for a dimensional variance.

Attorney Turner Scott of Newport represented the applicant and gave a presentation of the proposed plans to build a single-family residence on the property. The request for variance was for a front-yard setback of 15 feet instead of the required 30 feet. Because of time considerations, John Murphy, the local attorney representing abutters opposed to the proposed request did not have the opportunity to present opposing views. The panel voted unanimously to grant a continuance to the March meeting of the board.

The appeal of Roger and Maryjane Lavallee was granted a continuance to the February meeting of the board.

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