Freedom — November 12, 2010 Freedom residents should look for a big red weather balloon flying over the town on Saturday. The balloon marks the area where a proposed cell tower would be located. About 20 residents are already objecting to the tower.
The balloon will fly in the area of 53 Moulton Road. It will be flown from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A rain date has been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 20. The balloon will fly 175 feet high, the height of the proposed monopole tower.
The project is being proposed by a Florida-based company called North Atlantic Towers, which is represented by attorney Jonathan Springer of Springer Law Office of Portsmouth. The tower would have room for six telecommunications carriers, including ATT Mobility, which is currently trying to provide service to Freedom.
Having the tower in that location would lessen the need for other carries to look for other sites in Freedom, according to the Project Narrative and Variance Request that Springer filed with the town. The monopole would be located in a 75-by-75-foot fenced compound within a 37-acre piece of property owned by Nina Warren.
On Oct. 26, Springer sought two variances from Freedom Zoning Board of Adjustment. One variance would have given the company relief from a requirement that the company survey the tree canopy height of all trees over 20 feet tall within a 150-foot radius of the mount. The other regulation limits the height of such a tower to 10 feet higher than the average tree canopy height.
Springer argued that a balloon test would eliminate the need for a tree canopy survey, and the height restriction would render the plan unworkable if it’s not amended.
“Limiting the height of the tower to only 10 feet above the average height will mean that the antennas will literally be in the trees making it impossible to propagate the radio frequency signals,” wrote Springer.
But the zoning board decided the balloon test and the tree canopy survey are necessary. Members will discuss the results at their meeting on Dec. 28.
Several residents and abutters appeared at the Oct. 26 meeting to object to proposed cell tower. Among the strongest objections came from Laurie Morrow, who expressed her concerns verbally and in a written statement.
Morrow, who is an outdoor writer, noted that Freedom was home to the late Corey Ford, who wrote “The Road to Tinkhamtown,” which she considers one of the greatest hunting stories of all time.
“You put your tower up in Tinkhamtown and your company’s public relations office won’t know what hit them,” wrote Morrow who was concerned about the impact on wildlife and human health. “If you do, my editor at Field & Stream will be the first to know about it and I’m quite certain will publish my open letter in the pages of the magazine whose readership exceeds 20 million. I wouldn’t be surprised if it stirs up a grassroots boycott against your company.”
Resident June Morris was concerned about the tower diminishing the town’s ambiance, which could impact property values up to 20 percent, she said according to meeting minutes. Morris presented the zoning board with a list of 22 signatures from people who are also against the proposed tower.
Petitioners’ concerns are about radioactivity from the tower, impact on well water (water from the hillside is a source their well water), the visual impact, and noise from construction and operation of the tower. The petition states the tower would create a “ceaseless humming noise.”
But not everyone objected.
Selectman Neal Boyle spoke in favor of the project but he agreed the tree survey and the balloon test need to be done. Boyle added that the project would be safe according to federal guidelines. Resident Dean Robinson said he’s in favor of the project because better cell service is needed in town.
Springer addressed many of the residents’ concerns in his Project Narrative and Variance Requests. He wrote that granting the variances wouldn’t lead to diminished property values because “the heavy tree cover will effectively screen the tower from view.” The tower will not be dangerous because it will comply with federal regulations, he said in the narrative. Further, the cell phone coverage would be a benefit to residents, business people and anyone traveling through the area.
The project narrative states there will be no impact on abutting properties and little or no impact on town services. Springer told residents he didn’t expect the construction would require blasting, according to meeting minutes.
You won’t mind any of the things you object to if you’re 6 feet under because you couldn’t make that cell phone call to save your life!
Basically, this is addressed to Laurie Morrow, I guess. I have been a reader of Field and Stream since my teens, fifty years ago, and if they were to initiate a boycott for such an idiotic reason, I would be one of the first to stop buying the magazine! How insipid a comment to make. The wildlife in Alaska certainly adjusted to that “damn” pipeline awfully fast. Some were actually seen cuddling up to it in order to get the warmth from it. Maybe, Osprey and other exotic birds would build their nests in it like they do in the electric transmission towers on the way to the Florida Keys. Or the falcon that I saw recently in Brookline Ma. that had a nest in the cornice of a tall building and was feasting on pidgeons. Amazing how animals can adjust.
I see where the balloon controversy seems to have been quite over blown. I was working at the junction of Loon Lake Rd and the Village Road and was not able to see anything. I left there and went to the Freedom Country Club, a/ka the Dump, and did not see anything as I went up Cushing Corner Road. If that is any indication, I would think that the whole thing has been greatly over blown as is often the case with Environmentalists!!!!!
On another note, while I was working there on Loon Lake Road, an acquaintance, who I have know for many years, stopped. He told me that he was upset with my reference to “flatlanders” in my response to Laurie Morrow. I told him that it was not directed at him, her has recently moved here after many years as a second home owner. I explained to him that there are “flatlanders” who move to New Hampshire and leave the “city attitude” where they came from. One of the most notable was Mel Thompson, elected to several terms as Governor, who moved to NH from away but embraced the NH ethic. I probably should have been more explicit, in my post, as there are “FLATLANDERS”. Now, a “FLATLANDER” is someone who was born outside of NH and moves here but wants to change everything once they are here. It used to be that you could live in NH on less of an income than most states but that changed with the advent of the influx of “FLATLANDERS”
I hit the wrong key!
“FLATLANDERS”, who drove up the prices of land, could not understand why they had to pay for Kindergarten as it was “free” where they came from, why there was not a full time police or fire dept.’s to protect them and, then, could not understand why the taxes went up accordingly! All of this has driven out many of the young families as they can not afford the prices of homes in NH and have left in numbers second only to Maine! I have had two of mine move for that reason! I am concerned with that as I do not know if there will be anyone around to give me my pills when I hit the “home”. It should not be a crime to be a young family. Someone, who did not have children in school, paid for my kids as they were going through the school system just as my wife and I are doing that now, due to our kids all out of the house with families of their own.
I have always been very supportive of second home owners and tourists. We owned a motel and restaurant, as well as other business’s, in North Conway for twenty years and our lively hood depended on them. We have owned a business since selling the motel in 1987 that has depended on seconded home owners as well. I have had numerous discussions with locals, some native and others transplants, who have questioned the need of folks from away! When I first moved to Alton NH from Saugus Ma,: Yes, I am a flatlander, in 1960, I ended up working in construction and built or remodeled a lot of homes for folks that were planning on moving to Alton full time, before I moved to North Conway in 1968. I had told these locals in Freedom and Conway that the same thing was going to happen in their community and a lot of the familar names in government would change if they did not accept the newbies. Unfortunately, a lot of the newbies just do not understand the locals and natives and have made not attempt to know them and have added to the divide between them.
There was a man, who purchased a business in North Conway, that started writing letters to the Reporter; the local paper at the time, about all that was wrong with Conway. This went on for many months. Finally, a native, who was fed up, wrote a succint letter in response, he asked, ” Mr. Businessman ( he used the actual name): If Conway was so terrible, why the hell did you move here in the first place? Didn’t you do your homework?” This ended the letters from the Newbie.
I apologize for the rambling and do not mean to tick any folks off, but I am a confirmed NHerite and only wish that folks could understand the NH outlook and approach to things. Conservatism, both from the Democratic and Republican mentalities, made New Hampshire what it was and so attractive to so many. Unfortunately, I have seen that wane in the last twenty years or so and NH lose the advantage that we had for many years over our surronding states.
Jim Shuff, Freedom