The cell tower that was successfully opposed by Friends of the Blue Hills and Milton residents last year is trying to rise from the dead.
First some background: Back on May 21, 2009, Green Mountain Realty Corp. (GMR) filed an application with the Milton Board of Appeals (BOA) for a special permit to erect a 140 foot monopole (cellular telephone tower) near the entrance ramp from Blue Hill River Rd. to I-93 north. This particular parcel of land is owned by the Massachusetts Highway Department but is physically in the ‘middle’ of the Blue Hills Reservation. After vigorous advocacy by FBH, a crane test showing the visual impact of the tower was conducted on June 27, 2009. This was followed by a hearing before the BOA in August, at which the Board denied GMR’s application based on findings that: 1) necessity for the tower was not established because so few calls were ‘dropped’ in this area; 2) the tower would be visually and historically incompatible with the Reservation;
3) neighborhood and stakeholder opposition was essentially unanimous. (See decision here.)
We won. The Reservation, its users and neighbors would be spared the intrusion of an unnecessary 140 foot tall eyesore that would be visible from a good portion of the park.
But–maybe not. GMR filed suit in federal court in Boston late last fall, alleging that the Milton BOA’s decision was not supported by “substantial evidence” as required by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. (See Complaint.) The Town of Milton, represented by town counsel John Flynn, was to file an answer to GMR’s complaint on January 15, 2010.
It seems evident that the Milton BOA’s decision was thorough, well-reasoned and based on a great deal of substantial evidence. We at FBH have every reason to hope that the District Court will reject GMR’s complaint. Litigation, however, is not predictable. We will assist the Town in whatever way we can to see that the principle of local control is upheld and we will keep you posted on developments as they occur.