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TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
SPECIAL PERMIT RENEWAL
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant: SBA Monarch Towers I, LLC
8051 Congress Avenue
Boca Raton, FL 33487-1307
Property Owner: Aquarion Water Company of Massachusetts, Inc.
600 Lindey Street
Bridgeport, CT 06606
Property: 900 Main Street, Hingham, MA 02043
Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 953, Page 30
and Book 23914, Page 344
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS:
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the application of SBA Monarch Towers I, LLC (the “Applicant”) to renew a Special Permit A2 issued under § V-E of the Zoning By-Law (the "By-Law") on September 24, 2007, as extended through September 24, 2016 by the Massachusetts Permit Extension Act, and such other relief as necessary to maintain an existing Personal Wireless Services Tower located at 900 Main Street in the Official and Open Space District.
A public meeting was duly noticed and held on September 14, 2016 at the Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of before a panel consisting of regular members Joseph W. Freeman, Chairman, Robyn S. Maguire, and Joseph M. Fisher. The Applicant was represented by Gregory M. Boucher of Saul Ewing, LLP. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to renew the Special Permit for a successive five year period, beginning on September 25, 2016.
Throughout its deliberations, the Board has been mindful of the statements of the Applicant and the comments of the general public, all as made or received at the public hearing.
As allowed by Special Permit issued by the Board and filed with the Town Clerk on September 24, 2007, an existing 130' Tower is located on the subject property owned by the Aquarion Water Company of Massachusetts. The structure supports three main cell phone carriers, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, in addition to the Town's public safety communication equipment.
Section V-E, 7.1 of the By-Law provides that Special Permits for Towers shall expire automatically five years from the date of issuance; however, the Massachusetts Permit Extension Act automatically extended, for four years beyond its otherwise applicable expiration date, any permit or approval that was “in effect or existence” during the qualifying period beginning on August 15, 2008 and extending through August 15, 2012. As a result, the automatic 5-year expiration date for the 2007 Special Permit was automatically extended by four years, or until September 24, 2016.
The By-Law also provides for a renewal process where applicants may request successive 5-year renewals, subject to a public hearing process. In reviewing the renewal application, "the Board shall take into consideration whether there then exist any structures and/or technology available to the Applicant which would enable the Applicant to provide functionally-equivalent services in a less intrusive manner." The application includes an affidavit from SBA Communications stating that the only less intrusive wireless coverage available would be in the form of small cells and/or DAS, but the operator believes that these forms would not provide functionally equivalent services. Additionally, SBA indicates that replacement with small cells and/or DAS would be cost prohibitive at more than $3M.
The application also includes an update on the status of all permit conditions and demonstrates that the existing facility continues to be operated in compliance with all provisions of the By-Law.
FINDINGS and DECISION:
Based upon the materials submitted in support of the application and representations made at the public hearing, the Board determined that functionally equivalent services cannot be provided in a less intrusive manner than the existing Tower. Upon a motion made by Joseph M. Fisher and seconded by Robyn S. Maguire, the Board then voted unanimously to grant the requested Special Permit renewal for a successive five year period beginning on September 25, 2016.
This decision shall not take effect until a copy of the decision, bearing the certification of the Town Clerk that twenty (20) days have elapsed since the decision has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk and no appeal has been filed, or that if such appeal has been filed, that it has been dismissed or denied, is recorded with the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds and/or the Plymouth County Land Court Registry, and indexed in the grantor index under the name of the record owner or is recorded and noted on the owner’s certificate of title.
For the Board of Appeals,
Joseph W. Freeman, Chair
November 3, 2016