UPDATE The Rockland (ME) Planning Board refuses to approve a 120-foot tower proposed by Bay Communications III LLC, despite the City Council and city’s attorney claiming approval must be granted following a federal court settlement last November. The Free Press reported that the lawsuit occurred after The Planning Board rejected Bay Communications’ application in February 2020. The tower aims to close a “significant gap in wireless coverage” along the Route 1 corridor in Rockland based on a radio frequency propagation study.
According to Planning Board Chairman Erik Laustsen, who has served for 33 years, the Board was never part of the settlement talks but has been directed to sign the agreement. He said he does not understand why the City Council did not bring board members into the fold on terms of the settlement since the Planning Board was listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.
If the November settlement terms are not followed, the City Council and Planning Board could be found in contempt of court, reported the Press. In addition, the city’s attorney noted that each Planning Board member could be fined $100 for refusing to, or neglecting to perform a duty of office.
Laustsen and other board members said that they could not legally approve waivers, variances, and permits. He added that a variance is required because the tower would be located too far from the road, violating the city’s setback law. Laustsen also refuses to sign off on the finding that a sidewalk is unnecessary in front of the tower site.
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