Court deals blow to cell tower opponents

MOUNT DESERT — A Superior Court justice has upheld the planning board’s approval of AT&T Mobility’s plan to build a 125-foot cell phone tower in Pretty Marsh.

In a decision dated March 20, Justice Kevin Cuddy denied the appeal filed by Deborah Reed and Doug and Diane Miller, whose homes are near the tower site.

Ms. Miller said Tuesday that they won’t appeal the Superior Court decision to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

They had objected to the tower because of what they claimed would be its unacceptable visual impact and its depressing effect on the value of abutting property. They argued in their appeal that the planning board, in granting AT&T a conditional use permit for the tower, had ignored or misinterpreted parts of the land use zoning ordinance (LUZO).

Justice Cuddy noted in his ruling that the planning board had acknowledged that the tower would extend 65 feet above the tree line and would have some visual impact on the surrounding area. But he said the LUZO, which the voters of the town adopted, specifically allows towers as tall as 125 feet.

Ms. Reed and the Millers also argued in their appeal that the planning board had erred in finding that the cell tower would not be incompatible with its surroundings.

The site of the proposed cell tower is one of the highest points on a 28-acre parcel on Pasture Farm Way that AT&T plans to lease from Tim Gott. The site is about 1,500 feet east of Pretty Marsh Road.

Before AT&T can build the tower, it must submit construction drawings to the town’s code enforcement officer and apply for a building permit.

Find in-depth coverage of local news in the Mount Desert Islander. Subscribe digitally or in print.