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Alton planners touch on two hot topics

Lake Knoll Farm, cell tower among board's lastest discussions

November 24, 2010
ALTON — The Alton Planning Board met on Tuesday, Nov. 17, with a couple important cases that have garnered much attention. And at the conclusion of the meeting, those cases were still open and will be continued until the next meeting.

The first case involves a 100-foot monopole that will be located at 486 East Side Drive, and the second case is Lake Knoll Farm and its attempt to get approval to hold events on their property.

Case #P10-23, involving the monopole wireless facility and six accessory equipment shelters, is being questioned by a couple nearby residents.

Paul Fitzgerald, representing David and Marilyn Slade, brought several points to the board. He questioned constructability, whether the pole would be practical and whether it would be tough to respond to the area in an emergency situation. Fitzgerald also claimed that the construction of the pole could block his clients' panoramic view and that it could affect future development.

Fitzgerald brought up the point that during a site walk someone was able to get four-bar reception with a cell phone and wondered if coverage maps could be presented by Industrial Communications and Electronics, Inc.

Steve Grill, representing the company, wondered why they would want these maps as this case has already gone to court and the court ruled the pole will be put where it is and will be no taller than 100 feet.

Planning board chairman Tim Roy responded to this request saying, "If you have them, you can submit them."

The board passed three waivers dealing with the pole, but the case was continued until the next planning board meeting.

Case #P10-31 was presented to the board dealing with a lot line adjustment submitted by Gary Gosselin.

The board accepted the application with 10 waivers and gave conditional approval. At the time of the meeting revised plans were submitted but interim Town Planner Mike Garrepy didn't have time to go over them.

Case #P10-33, involving Kathy and Mike Currier and Lake Knoll Farm, was brought forward to the board.

Since the last meeting, the board had a chance to go on a site walk on the property. In this case, the abutters have filed a motion for rehearing that will be decided on Dec. 2 if they will hear it. If the zoning board decides to hear it, that will occur sometime in January.

Garrepy is concerned with the sight lines in and out of Lake Knoll Farm.

The town granted the Curriers use of Lake Knoll Farm for events back in 2007, but they were recently given a cease and desist letter.

The Curriers submitted a site-plan, but the board requested that the plan be more drawn to scale and include measurements and distances so the board could review it.

Brendan Guyer, representing Carol and Richard Locke and Cindy Balcius (a planning board member and abutter, who recused herself from this case) asked that the board request a major site-plan review for this case.

He accused the Curriers of operating the business illegally by holding events on their property.

As mentioned before, in May 2007, the Curriers went before a minor site-plan review and were granted access to hold event planning on the property.

The stipulations of this approval was that they would need to get vendors' licenses for each event and if the use became more intensive they would need to go through a major site-plan review.

Roy and others members of the board questioned the wording of the approval, calling it very vague.

Peter Lepenta showed his support for the Curriers and what they are trying do.

"I don't see where their business is any more noise that any other country noise," Lepenta stated.

Roger Sample, representing the Alton Business Association, came to the board offering support.

"We want to help businesses as they come in," Sample said.

Kathy Currier responded to accusations from Guyer.

"It was not illegal. Those are false accusations," Currier said. "This is not fair treatment."

It was revealed that during 2007, 2008 and 2009 the Curriers held one event, while this past year they held four events.

Planning board member Bill Curtin reiterated his disappointment with the ruling from 2007.

"It's too bad this whole thing is so subjective," Curtin said.

Carol Locke came forward and brought up her thoughts.

"I want fair treatment for my home. I want peace and quiet," Locke said. "If this is a commercial property, they should be held accountable."

The board agreed to investigate the previous ruling and will try to track down previous members and town officials who were involved to try and determine their intentions.

The matter was continued until the next board meeting, where more facts can be gathered and hopefully the matter can be resolved. The board also requested that Attorney Jim Sessler be present at the next meeting involving this case.

Roy seemed frustrated that the matter hasn't been resolved and apologized to all parties involved.

Case #P10-356, involving the merger of lots at Tax Map 48-4, Tax Map 4-8 and lot line adjustment of newly merged Tax Map 18-27, was heard by the board.

The application was submitted by Roseen Survey PLLC. Board member Tom Hoopes brought up the fact that the recreational service line could impact the lot line adjustments. Waivers were approved for the case, but the case was continued until the Nov. 30 workshop, so that items could get approval through the state to complete the application.

In old business, Wentworth Cove Realty requested an extension on the Baywinds Subdivision. They were given a three-month extension and will bring back the case at the Feb. 15 meeting.

The Prospect Mountain tower was brought up and members of the board felt that there needs to a cover for the top of the light.

John Dever, the building inspector, informed the board that deadlines will be shifting dealing with subdivisions and continuations. A letter will be coming to the board with these deadlines in the coming weeks.

The next planning board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 6 p.m. at the Alton Town Hall.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

Varney Smith
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