BEDFORD — After a two-year process, T-Mobile has finally received permission to construct a new cell tower on residential property along Tirrell Road.
The local planning board approved the site plan application this week following multiple meetings with zoning and planning officials, as well as a recent court battle.
Since 2017, American Tower Corp. and T-Mobile Northeast LLC have been seeking permission to build a wireless telecommunications facility at 25 Tirrell Road, which will sit on a residential parcel owned by Richard and Elizabeth Morgan.
“We looked closely at what has been done elsewhere in Bedford,” said Attorney William Dodge of the law firm Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC.
Chris Bandazian, a town councilor and planning board member, raised concerns about the size of the parcel at 1.4 acres when 1.5 acres is required. He said the setbacks are not being met under the proposal, and there is a significant encroachment on the western side.
“There is a great deal of procedural history in this case,” said Bandazian, adding he was disappointed that an easement from the westerly abutters was not on record.
If an easement is required, Dodge argued that it would prohibit the project from moving forward.
Dorothy Michaud of Tirrell Road voiced opposition to the cell tower being constructed next to her home.
“I am totally against all of this,” said Michaud, expressing concerns about radiation, the noise of the weekly generator tests and diesel fumes from the nearby cell tower complex.
Ron Michaud of Tirrell Road suggested that propane be used instead of diesel, and stressed that the generator’s platform should be as far away from his property as possible.
“It would have to be built to plan,” said Harold Newberry, planning board member, adding the generator is 150 feet from their property in the site plans.
The cell tower application was approved by the planning board on Monday, with two members in opposition.
Previously, the local zoning board denied T-Mobile’s request for a special exception to construct the tower on residential property. T-Mobile filed a request for a rehearing and it was denied, leading to its appeal to the U.S. District Court.
Last fall, the court ordered the zoning board to issue the special exception necessary for the 130-foot tower to be constructed; although two zoning amendments were recently approved by voters to limit the height and extend the setback requirements for cell towers, this project is exempt from those amendments since the application was submitted two years ago, Mark Connors, assistant planning director, explained earlier.