This letter will enlarge on information presented in a Morning Sentinel article last month, “Rome Cell Tower Dispute Enters Federal Arena.”
After 13 months of deliberation, the Rome Planning Board denied the application of Global Tower and Northeast Wireless to build another cell tower in Rome. The board considered several issues in making this decision, including failure to prove that adequate cell phone coverage did not already exist in town. The most compelling reason in the opinion of the board, however, stems from the following two purposes of our Wireless Communications Siting Ordinance:
â€¢ To preserve the character and appearance of Rome while allowing adequate telecommunications service to be developed.
â€¢ To preserve property values, and protect historic and scenic areas within the town.
A 190-foot tower on a hill in the center of town and prominent in the view from Great and Long Ponds, as well as the scenic destinations of five popular local hiking trails, goes against these purposes.
Rome’s natural beauty and recreation opportunities are among its greatest assets and a significant factor in the value of its tax base. It is the mission of the planning board to protect these values by properly administering the town’s duly adopted ordinances. It is the opinion of the majority of the board that this denial does that. If this tower is built it will be a permanent monument to Rome’s lack of resolve to fight it.
Quoting prominent local attorney, Dan Dubord, “This is what the big boys do when small Maine towns deny their applications to put up more towers. Most towns fold like cheap tents when they learn that to defend their decision in federal court will cost a bundle. Kudos to Rome for defending the actions of its planning board, and not bowing down to the bullies.”
Denny Phillips, co-chairmanRome Planning Board