EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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July 2, 2014

Hearing slated for Methuen cell tower

METHUEN — The Community Development Board in Methuen is reviewing an application for a cell tower in a residential area on West Street.

Director of Economic and Community Development Bill Buckley said Verizon Wireless has applied with a co-applicant to construct a tower near 121 West St. The proposed site is in an area of Methuen that is zoned for rural residential land use, meaning that the city would have to grant a special permit for the tower. The only districts that do not allow a cell tower or similar structure are single family or multifamily residential zones.

"They (Verizon) put together a pretty thorough application. However, we did raise some concerns and we already have requested some additional information. They’re in the process responding to that," Buckley said.

A public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 9. At that meeting, the board can decide to grant the permit, deny the permit, or request further information from the applicants and defer the decision until a later meeting.

"I encourage anyone to come to the public hearing, because that's their opportunity. That’s why we have public hearings. We want to hear from people whether they are satisfied or not satisfied and then take the appropriate action," he said.

Buckley said he is not aware of any issues surrounding the other cell towers in the city, but 121 West St. resident Paul Soucy has misgivings. Soucy has begun circulating a petition among his neighbors, which he plans to present at the public hearing next week. He said he has gathered 75 signatures so far.

"It's a first step anyway," he said. "Hopefully enough people will show up at the meeting for it to make a difference."

As required under state law and the city's comprehensive zoning ordinance, Soucy received a letter last week notifying him about the project. Buckley said the applicants must also notify the property's abutters, and any abutters to abutters within 300 feet.

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