Shot Clock Runs Out on Tower as Town Pulls a Map “Switcheroo”

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Although expiration of the “shot clock” was the cited reason for disallowing Bay Communications’ tower proposal in Rockland, ME, the towerco said the city’s sleight-of-hand in switching zoning maps was the real cause. Bay Communications’ plan to build a 120-foot monopole, according to the Village Soup was denied by the Planning Board on January 31, stating that the city failed to meet the proper time frame.

The company filed its application on September 9, 2019 and the city needed to act by February 6, 2020, to fall within the 150-day window. The company said it would consent to extend that time until the Tuesday, February 18 meeting but no further.

In early January, the city provided Bay Communications with a copy of a Commercial Corridor Overlay Zone, which was approved in March 2015, by the City Council. Bay Communications maintains the city’s official zoning map was not updated to reflect the zone change. The telecom contends that the city’s failure to revise the map means any of those zoning requirements would not apply to Bay Communications since its application meets the conditions set in the zoning map that existed when it filed the application, reported the Village Soup.

Another issue is whether a cell tower is considered a structure under the city’s definition. Bay Communications contends that the tower does not meet the description of a structure and does not have to meet the assigned regulations.

Last week, the Planning Board held a closed-door meeting to obtain legal advice on the matter as they are scheduled to review the tower proposal this week. Following the February 12 executive session, Planning Board Chair Erik Laustsen said he had more questions than answers. 

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