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Zoning Board of Appeals — Meeting Minutes — April 1, 2010

A duly posted meeting of the Shelburne Zoning Board of Appeals was held at the Selectmen's Meeting Room at Town Hall, 51 Bridge Street, Shelburne, on April 1, 2010.

Members Present: John Taylor, William Sweeney, Ted Merrill Lowell Laporte
Administrative Assistant: Faye Whitney
Members Absent: Catherine Smith, John Pollard, Joe Palmeri
Guest: Carl Gehring of Verizon Wireless

It was noted that Mr. Pollard is now a regular member of the Board and Mr. Sweeney is now an alternate member,

Clerk John Taylor called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

Mr. Gehring gave an explanation of the proposed changes to a tower located near Cooper Lane. The tower presently holds three Verizon Wireless/RCC dishes and one other, which belongs to another company. The top eight-foot dish either has been removed or will be removed soon. A six-foot dish is also scheduled to be removed in about a year. The remaining eight-foot dish acts as a relay to a tower in Erving and has been up and operating continually since about 1995, definitely prior to the enactment of the 1998 zoning bylaws.

Mr. Gehring said that Shelburne's bylaws allow exemptions for existing equipment. Verizon plans to remove the remaining eight-foot dish and replace it, lower down on the tower, with a six-foot dish. Mr. Gehring was of the opinion that all that was needed to do that was a building permit, since he felt the change was merely maintenance. The building inspector has denied the permit. Mr. Gehring asked that the Board write a letter to the building inspector indicating that they agree that a building permit is all that is needed.

Mr. Merrill asked if the new dish would weigh less than the existing dish and thus place less stress on the tower. Mr. Gehring said he would verify that and report back.

Mr. Laporte agreed that this sounded like maintenance but thought it was a good idea to pass these types of things past the Board so the Board would be informed. He added that sometimes there could be a fine line between maintenance and new construction. Mr. Gehring said if it was a new dish the situation would be different, but this is essentially moving an existing dish. Mr. Sweeney said that the new dish was likely to be less objectionable than what is already in place. Mr. Taylor agreed that a letter would be written to the building inspector and if the Board's recommendation to grant the building permit was not accepted Mr. Gehring would come back to the Board for a finding.

A motion was made by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. Laporte, to compose a letter to the building inspector advising him that the Board differs from his interpretation as expressed in his letter if February 23, 2010. And that the Board has reviewed the submission and has determined that the dish is exempt under Shelburne Zoning Bylaw 16.6C because the dish was in operation prior to the adoption of the bylaw and is being replaced, which the Board considers a maintenance issue. The new dish will be smaller in size, lower in height; the structure itself will not be substantially altered or enlarged. If the building inspector would like to discuss the matter further the Board would be happy to discuss the bylaw section in its entirety,

Voting in favor: Mr. Taylor, Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Merrill, Mr. Laporte
Opposed: None
Abstaining: None

Mr. Taylor will compose a letter to the building inspector with a cc to Mr. Gehring.

Discussion took place concerning whether fences are subject to zoning. The building inspector has said that a building permit is required only if a fence is more than six feet tall. Fences under six feet in height require no setbacks or other limits.

The Board discussed posting the Rules and Regulations on the town website. It has been learned that the Rules and Regulations will not be available at the Town Hall nor will updated copies of Mass General Laws. The Rules and Regulations will be slightly changed to reflect that new information.

A motion was made by Mr., Laporte to approve the minutes of March 4. Mr. Sweeney seconded this.

Voting in favor: Mr. Taylor, Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Merrill, Mr. Laporte
Opposed: None
Abstaining: None

The Board recognized, with regret, the passing of William Valvo. His years of service to the town were noted. Mr. Valvo had been the chairman of the ZBA for many years and was instrumental in creating the town's cell tower bylaws.

Mr. Laporte is studying the home-based business section of the bylaws and Mr. Taylor is working on the sign section. Future revisions to both sections are anticipated.

It was noted that the ZBA chair and clerk are getting a lot of questions that should be first directed to the building inspector. The ZBA does often not need to get involved unless decisions of the building inspector are appealed. This will be discussed further when Chairman Palmeri returns.

At 8:45 p.m. Mr. Merrill moved that the meeting be adjourned. This was seconded by Mr. Laporte. The vote was unanimously in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Faye Whitney, Administrative Assistant