Mashpee Planning Board Makes No Decision on Cell Tower

MASHPEE – After hearing arguments from both sides, the Mashpee planning board closed a public hearing last week without a decision on the controversial cell phone tower that would be located at Mashpee Fire Station 2 on Red Brook Road.

The proposed tower, which would be 150 feet, would increase cell phone coverage in the southern part of Mashpee where service can be nonexistent at times.

Police and fire officials in the town have said the tower is a matter of public safety however many residents have objected to it.

Fire Chief Thomas Rullo spoke in front of the board and reminded them to think of the public safety side of the tower, citing the tornado which struck Cape Cod this summer.

“The people who come in this area, whether they’re visiting here, whether they’re living here, they’re expecting there cellphone to work,” Rullo said.  

“There’s a lot things that the cellphone does, but for me I only have one concern, and it’s the concern that I was hired for and that’s to deliver a service and I can’t do that if people can’t call 911.”     

Residents in the Popponesset and New Seabury areas also showed support for the tower at the public hearing in September.

However, not everyone is in favor of the tower as the board received a petition with 200 signatures in opposition last month.

Those who oppose the tower have asked why the location on Red Brook Road was chosen when other locations could reach more uncovered areas.

Residents in opposition have also raised concerns about the tower’s effects on their property values and questioned whether or not alternative technologies could be used.

Last month, a radio frequency engineer estimated that the fire station location would bring service to roughly 1,400 locals.

Speaking before the board, Elizabeth Thompson, a lawyer representing the developers of the tower, Blue Sky Towers II, LLC, said that no one singular tower could meet all of the coverage needs of Southern Mashpee and that no other location is feasible.

Thompson also said that while she agreed that a site more centralized to the coverage gap would be ideal, no such site exists and that alternative technologies could not be used in place of the tower.

A certified appraiser from Fair Market Advisors presented an analysis to the board in September and found that there would be no major effect to property values in the area.  

Rock Landing Road in New Seabury has been repeatedly suggested as a location for the tower by those opposed to the current location. However the land is under recreation restrictions and the land owner has not given the permission for the tower to be built there.

Should the board vote in favor of the tower, construction would still depend on the outcome of a Zoning Board of Appeals decision being appealed in Barnstable Superior Court.

A date for that appeal has yet to be determined.

The cell tower project did receive the green light from the Cape Cod Commission.

The Mashpee Planning Board is expected to discuss and vote on the tower at their next meeting on Wednesday, October 16th.

Chairwoman Mary Waygan suggested they continue the public hearing after the court renders its decision, but Thompson said her client would not agree to a continuance and extending the hearing could violate federal law.

No further comments from Blue Sky Towers or the public will be accepted since the board voted unanimously to close the public hearing.

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the CapeCod.com News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.



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