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Friday, August 1, 2014

Merrimack Zoning Board votes down cell tower construction

MERRIMACK – The town Zoning Board voted down a proposed cell phone tower in a residential neighborhood off Joppa Road at Wednesday’s meeting.

Residents in the area had rallied against the tower publicly and showed up at scheduled meetings twice before only to learn the proposal would not be discussed. ...

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MERRIMACK – The town Zoning Board voted down a proposed cell phone tower in a residential neighborhood off Joppa Road at Wednesday’s meeting.

Residents in the area had rallied against the tower publicly and showed up at scheduled meetings twice before only to learn the proposal would not be discussed.

As discussion began Wednesday, many contested the tower on the grounds that it would be an eyesore and may decrease property values. AT&T proposed the tower, which would have been placed on a 24.3 acre property located at 121 Joppa Road in residential and aquifer conservation districts.

“Everything went in our favor. There were only two people for the cell phone tower, the entire remaining group was against it. At least 20 people spoke against the cell tower,” Dan Szymanowski of 124 Joppa Road said after the meeting.

Szymanowski helped rally his neighbors by submitting a letter to the editor for Wedesday’s Telegraph urging residents to participate in the meeting.

Residents came out in droves, Szymanowski said it was a “packed house.”

The proposed tower would have been 150 feet high tower camouflaged as a pine tree. The structure was to be enclosed inside a 50 by 50 foot fenced area approximately 172 feet east of Joppa Road.

“They call it a ‘stealth pine tree’ but no matter how you look at it, it’s still a tower 70 feet above the treeline,” Szymanowski said.

The lot in question is in a water conservation area, and Szymanowski argued the pad for the tower would have been in the same area as the wetlands. He said past a development had been halted before for this reason.

“Apparently that property had come up in 2003 for a subdivision, and it was rejected for development at that time.”

The other issue was AT&T said there was not sufficient service for users in the area.

“Residents verified there was acceptable service on all streets,” Szymanowski said. “It was a bad proposal.”

He said the two individuals who spoke in favor felt the tower would be part of a necessary technological development for the community.

The board voted 4-1 against the proposal.

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-6402 or tforbes@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Forbes on Twitter (@Telegraph_TinaF).