2009-10-01 / News

Zoning Board approves variances, special-use permit

By Tyler Will

The Jamestown Zoning Board unanimously approved a specialuse permit and variance to Cox TMI Wireless to offer cellular service in Jamestown, in addition to setback variances for a residential home.

Brian Grossman of Prince Lobel in Boston, who represented Cox, said the company is looking to compete with wireless companies in the area, and wanted to install an antenna on a water tower, where other wireless companies already have one. The special-use permit was to place the antenna on a water tower, while the variance was needed because the antenna is taller than 35 feet.

“The only other way to provide coverage to that area would be to propose something on the order of a new tower or other type of structure… clearly not something that is going to be desired by the town,” Grossman said.

While the antenna is 100 feet tall, so is the water tower, Grossman said, which is compatible with the existing area and other wireless providers’ antennae. The new unit, when built, will emit minimal noise.

Zoning board member Joseph Logan asked if there was an air conditioning unit for the equipment, and Grossman said there is not. The board voted 7-0 to approve, with board member Don Wineberg absent.

No residents spoke for or against the Cox application, but a letter of opposition from Emily and Mark Devey given to the Press cites concerns about radio frequencies, and changes in brain functions and sleeping patterns.

“Our concerns are two-fold: first, with the potential accumulation of radio frequency over time…Second, the perceived health risks and potential fears associated with the antennae, proven or not, could lower property values in the water tower area of downtown,” the letter said.

During a discussion about the letter’s concerns, Richard Alphin said he thought federal communications laws prohibit using unproven science in considering communications related applications.

Attorney John A. Murphy represented Gary Beer, a Jamestown resident who applied for variances for a property surrounded by unbuildable land at 31 Calvert Place. The unbuildability of the surrounding land provides a million-dollar view, Beer said.

“It is really a beautiful place there,” he said. “[But] it is a little odd from a land-use perspective and a zoning perspective.”

Beer originally applied to the town in 2006 for a house that Murphy described as Beer’s wife’s dream house, but she died. Beer said his family did not need such a large house, and he was applying for a smaller one.

Two setback variances are needed. The town requires 30 feet; one side of the house is 24 feet and 11 inches from the property line, and another side is 10 feet.

The architect, Matthias Mueller, said the current design is the least intrusive, preserves the building height of the original plan that was approved by the town and would have no drainage issues. The board approved the plan 7-0, with Wineberg absent.

Return to top