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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Atkinson to hold hearing on tower

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson to hold hearing on tower
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — A public hearing will be held next month so residents can comment on a proposal to add three antennas to a communications tower.

Christopher King of BCI Communications, the company hired by SBA Tower II to bring the project through the permitting phase, appeared before the selectmen last night to seek approval for the project.

Selectmen said before they could approve the project, they would like to hear from the public.

"It's been awhile since the last thrash through," said Selectman Bill Bennett.

The proposal is virtually identical to the one denied a special exception by the town's Zoning Board of Adjustment in March 2007, King said.

SBA Tower II filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in September 2007, but a federal judge recently ruled that it was up to the selectmen to decide the case. The zoning board issued its decision when the 50-year-old tower, more than 150 feet high, was owned by Mariner Tower.

King said the tower's owner has an obligation under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to lease space to T-Mobile so it can provide service to its customers.

"The longer we can't serve our clients, we're being penalized," King said.

But Selectman Bill Friel said there have been changes made to the tower that weren't approved by the town.

"That's going to be a real sticking point for me in the process," Friel said.

Friel, a member of the zoning board in 2007, said the last public hearing drew a large crowd of neighbors who were unhappy with the tower.

"People who live in the area are concerned the darn thing doesn't come down on their house," Bennett said.

The public hearing has been scheduled for July 20, at 7:30 p.m. at Atkinson Town Hall.


Anonymous said...

Here we go again! What part of NO doesn't the selectment/phone company understand? Is it the N or the O?

Voters have already spoken on this issue. Why do we have to go through it AGAIN?

Anonymous said...

What did the voters say No to?

They said no to an extremely costly solution to a public communication problem that included a 120' or 180' monopole tower.

T-Mobile is asking for space on a tower that has been in place for 50 years. Two completely different and unrelated issues.

And while we're at, what were the voters really against. The cost and physical aspects of the proposed solutions, or were they against solving a long standing communications problem our community has? I believe it was the former. Don't get these two issues confused either.

If the new committee the BOS created came up with a less expensive, less physically intrusive solution, would you be against that too?

Anonymous said...

Nope, it should have been vehicle repeaters all along

Anonymous said...

Hypothetical question. Suppose an officer responds to a scene where there is trouble, and it is in the dead zone, and he doesn't have a cruiser. He's in his own car. What good would a vehicle repeater do him?

Or, lets say he is in his cruiser, in the dead zone, and he has an accident that knocks out the electrical system. How would a vehicle repeater help him here?

Vehicle repeaters have their place, but they are not always the best solution.

Anonymous said...

Hey, that's a good point. It hasn't happened in the last fifty year, so we better spend all we have now to prepare for the next fifty years. Don't know why others didn't think about that before.

Good point, hypothetically.

Anonymous said...

your funny. your worried about the blog tracing your posts, why would the blog care? its the chief who screams about this thing at meetings! I am more worried about him finding out who I am! I dont want to be followed around town by the clown car!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you mean by the last 50. There hasn't been a cruiser accident in the last 50 years? An officer has not gone on a call in his own car in the last 50 years? That would be absolutely amazing if true.

Cruisers do get into accidents. We have enough recent history to demonstrate that with our own, and it happens to other departments almost every day. All it takes is an icy road and a skid into a tree which could take out the battery and alternator at the same time. Anyone who has lived in New Hampshire long enough should know how easy it is for this to happen.

When were talking about an officers safety, not politics or personal agendas. The question is quite simple. Wouldn't you want to provide our officers the most reliable communications possible?

I believe there are ways that would do that not bust the bank. The last effort was an exercise run amok.

We're going to have a new committee, most likely made up different people if they use Bill Bennett's criteria that the majority of members have technical backgrounds, preferably degreed, and communications experience. The last committee did not have enough of that. I say, at least for now, forget the past and give the new guys a chance and the benefit of the doubt.

Anonymous said...

I agree as long as it's made up of people in the know, not the last cast of characters that just wanted to push an agenda.

No one wants to put an officer in danger, but taxpayers don't want to spend excessive amounts of money just to have the best of the best, when something less expensive would do the job.

Anonymous said...

June 18, 2009 10:00 AM

If you saw Bill Bennett's commentary at that particular BOS meeting, or can get access to it, say at the Library, I think you would find that Mr. Bennett is in complete agreement with you.

He said two notable things. In regards to the members, what I described. In response to Jack Sapia, who was attempting to justify the last effort, Mr. Bennett replied, "You were snookered".

I take from this that Mr. Bennett "Gets It" and wants a new approach. There was one other person there who spoke during the discussion of having the Technology Committee take on the task. He was not a member of the last committee, and from the brief resume he read, he appears qualified. During a previous discussion of this in another topic, one person who watched the meeting had this response, "Wow".

He also had these wise words, "Do not panic." Let's see how this plays out before people start yelling, "Here we go again."

Anonymous said...

Police radios, and vehicle repeaters typically have battery back ups

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the past two committees were agenda driven. They refused to consider any options other than towers.

the problem here is that the advocates use scare tactics, and hyperbole saying we need 100% coverage.

As someone who spent a career setting up Army Mobile communications networks, I can tell you that 100% is an impossibility.

Columbus Ohio and Detroit Michigan are perfectly flat. And they only achieve 90-95% coverage.

You need the best coverage for the most affordable price. Atkinson's problem is a power problem, not a transmission problem. Shoulder radios do not have the power that car radios or base stations have.

I have heard a number of residents say this very thing, and they have been yelled at by the Lt., told to "get their facts straight" by the chief, and generally crucified for questioning "public safety". But they were right.

Anonymous said...

June 18, 2009 4:02 PM

If you're talking the vehicle radios, that is not the case. The battery backup sits up front, under the hood.

Anonymous said...

RE: June 18, 2009 4:10 PM

Sounds like you have a handle on the problem. Have you applied to be on the new committee?

Anonymous said...

"The problem is that the past two committees were agenda driven. They refused to consider any options other than towers."

Are say then that vehicle repeaters are the only other acceptable option despite the drawbacks already mention and possibly others.

If the new committee, made up of engineers and communications specialist, deem vehicle repeaters are not the best option after researching the problem, would they be wrong also?

Far as I know, the BOS has not even appointed members to the committee and already you suspect their findings?

I do agree 100% is impossible. First, there is no way to actually verify it unless you test from every square yard in town. Second, I did not hear the BOS dictate any coverage requirements.

I think Mr. Bennett is trying real hard here to put in a place a competent and professional committee. I think it is unfair to dictate solutions before they have even had their first meeting.

The old tower solutions and committees are history. Let's keep it that way and give these guys a clean slate.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the selectmen televise all the actual points of dead areas where the problems exist. I don't believe there are more than one or two areas in the whole town.

I'm from Missouri, show me. Don’t refer me to Phil either. I don’t believe a word that comes out of that mans mouth.

Anonymous said...

June 18, 2009 7:19 PM

So, don't take Phil's word for it. Next time you see an Atkinson cop, any cop, ask him.

Anonymous said...

Repeaters aren't feasible because a cruiser might get in an accident? That's ridiculous.

It's like saying that the tower won't work because there could be an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado that would knock it down.

I've never seen a sensible answer against the repeaters, and until I do, it's most sensible solution that I'm willing to support.

Anonymous said...

The answer to see if repeaters would work is simple. Bring a Plaistow cruiser that's equipped with a repeater, and test it at both our dead spots. If the dispatcher can hear them, it works. No committee or study needed.

Anonymous said...

Am I wrong...or are people confusing the rejected $600,000 tower and the High Hill Tower. They are two different issues. The up-coming public hearing will be held for the privately-owned High Hill Tower, interested in improving their profitability by adding antennas to their tower. Those antennas have nothing to do with any of the emergency services.

I don't think they have anything to do with the new committee, which is being formed to determine the best way to deal with emergency communications.

At one time, the Police did try to get in on the High Hill tower. Following a public hearing, that never happened and that's why the proposal for another tower (center of town) for the PD.

This tower was in place for years and years...I'm thinking even more than 50.

Relax....our day to discuss and decide on any new emergency communication system will come - probably - next March.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making that clear. With both towers being mentioned here, I got them confused. Now that I'm focused, didn't they turn down Hog Hill because of possible structural problems and ice load? If so, what has changed?

Thank you

Anonymous said...

June 18, 2009 10:56 PM, June 19, 2009 9:03 AM

Fortunately, the final decision is not up to you. And there are issues involved that you are not even remotely aware of. Google co-channel interference and receiver desensitization. Thats just for starters. You need to understand the whole issue from a technical and human factors standpoint. Let's leave it to the experts to decide. They know the subject matter.

Finally, nobody has asked for anything. A committee has been formed. Criteria has been established regarding the qualifications of its members. Given Mr. Bennett's feelings towards the last committee, I suspect they will go to the bottom of the pile if they apply. Just as the new committee should not jump to a pre-conceived solution, neither should you.

June 19, 2009 9:09 AM - You are absolutely right, but the first entry into this topic immediately led it astray. Many people still confuse the two issues so we go round and round.

June 19, 2009 9:29 AM
I'm sure the issue will be addressed at the public hearing next month.

Anonymous said...

"Relax....our day to discuss and decide on any new emergency communication system will come - probably - next March."

Given the committee is not even formed yet it is unlikely they would have a warrant ready for next March. And, who knows, maybe this time they will get creative and a warrant won't be needed.

Give them a chance to do their work.

Anonymous said...

"I've never seen a sensible answer against the repeaters, and until I do, it's most sensible solution that I'm willing to support."

You're guilty of the same attitude that doomed the last effort. You're fixated on one solution. I hope the new committee is more open minded.

Anonymous said...

He's/she's not guilty of anything. He's/she's told you his/her position on the subject. Now you know where he/she stands. The last effort was doomed because it was not well though out, and all the bullying in the world, could not push it through. Now go try to sway someone else into your way of thinking.

Anonymous said...

Asking somebody to keep an open mind is trying to sway their opinion? Geeez, a little touchy aren't we?

Anonymous said...

I know it isn't formed yet, but is there any way we can sue the communication committee? I know they will ignore us, trample our civil rights, and probably violate our RTK laws. Oh, and it will still be Chief's fault...

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not a little touchy, read what he said.


"I've never seen a sensible answer against the repeaters, and until I do, it's (the) most sensible solution that I'm willing to support."

You reply was:


You're guilty of the same attitude that doomed the last effort. You're fixated on one solution. I hope the new committee is more open minded.

You never asked him to keep an open mind. You said he was guilty (of not keeping an open mind)

He left the door open to change his mind, IF he got a sensible answer against repeaters. Until he got that answer, he was only going to support repeaters.

You berated him because he expressed his true feelings, when all you had to do was prove repeaters won't work. Phil will never allow repeaters to be tested, because he wants an expensive tower he doesn't need.

It looks to me that you support that idea. We don't need a study or committee to test repeaters.

Anonymous said...

The troll that called him closed minded works in the fantasy world that believes the first committee was "open-minded".

Any thinking person knows that the first committee had already decided what it wanted before it sat down for the first meeting. That's exactly what made people so distrustful of any new effort, but the critic twit who defends any action of the of the PD here doesn't have the God-given sense to realize that.

Anyone that didn't see that the last committee knew what the outcome was beforehand has an IQ of 60 or less. Exactly how naive can one person be?

Anonymous said...

I pointed out how anon June 19, 2009 2:05 PM may not have comprehended what he was reading. He stated certain assumptions of what he was being told, then went on the attack.

We who read this blog need to stop attacking every statement that is made here. (Leave that to the AntiBlog people so we can identify them)

We need to be the adults. We should discuss the pro and cons of each issue, and perhaps come up with solutions to our problems. We then need to express our convictions to others and build a coalition that will make a difference in the voting booth.

Insults and attacks do not help our cause. I beg you to consider this before we post. Please consider how you may offend others with your statements and reword them to best get your point across.

We need to fix our problems together. You never know how many potential supporters are watching or listening.

Name calling does not boost our points of view.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

June 19, 2009 5:48 PM

I believe June 19, 2009 11:47 AM was referring to the person whose mind was made up regarding repeaters and not referring to the previous committee.

I sense people here are condemning the new committee before it is even formed. How are potential volunteers suppose to react to that?

Mr. Bennett made it clear. In so many words, the new committee will not be the old committee.

Before people start slamming them or dictating solutions, lets say we give them a chance to analyze the problem first.

Anonymous said...

Other than one posting here, I don't believe anyone else has said they wouldn't give them a chance.

We can't dictate anything here. All we can do is watch very carefully to see if new committee members are predisposed for a certain conclusion. With that knowledge and the recommendations of the committee, we will make up our minds.

Anonymous said...

Re: The High Hill tower - on which a public hearing will be scheduled.

It has a history going 'way back. I wanna say that, in 1984-ish, the ZBA approved changes on the tower with certain conditions. Those conditions were not met, the issue went to court, the court sided with the town and the owners were expected to comply. They never did. In the meantime, it was sold. The new owners didn't follow up.

Among the conditions were basic groundskeeping, including a fence to keep children away, clearing of brush, "neatening" up the area. Also provisions for one - maybe two - antennas.

Time passes. Along came a new owner seeking permission for change. In the meantime, area residents complained about interruptions to their communications caused by the tower;
possibly an increase in height. The Police did propose adding antennas or whips to improve emergency services and that didn't go over well. This was the year for Brian Kaye - remember him? He lived on High Hill - right next to the tower. I believe both he and his wife had done substantial homework on towers, antennas, etc., and were prepared todebate.
Intimidation factors caused he and his wife to move.

Anyway, after a couple of public hearings, with a lot of angry people, the Selectmen did not overrule the ZBAs decision on this one. And that's where it stands now.

The PH should bring out a lot of the same residents, who will review this entire situation.

That's about all I can remember. Maybe one of the High Hill folks will pitch in.

Anonymous said...

How dare you assume that someone who opposed the chief and tjreatened not to give him what he wanted was "intimidated" and moved from town because of it!

Oh, nevermind, I just remembered that this was a pretty regular occurance over the years, and it cost the town hundreds of thousands of dollars. All the facts and documents that support this are easily available online.

And yet we still have zombie/deniers that come here spouting attacks against this blog in defense of this same chief..

What's interesting is that they never attack the facts; facts don't die so easily...

Anonymous said...

Yes, and Phil is in the middle of this issue again. As I was reading Phil's counter suit against Mr. Artus on the ATA site yesterday, he is trying to claim Mr. Artus defamed him because his attorney put the fact that Mr. Kaye moved because of a death threat against he and his family. In Mr. Douglas response, it says Mr. Kaye will testify to this fact.

Talk about wasting taxpayers dollars in attorney fees, when everyone knows why Mr. Kaye moved.

How long are we going to allow our Selectmen and Phil to build up exorbitant attorney "billable hours" by filing these false accusations?

Anyone want to guess the hourly rate they charge? It has to be in the hundreds of dollars per hour, and we are paying for it. If memory serves, the town has 5 or 6 attorney’s representing them. Why?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I read that too, and Phil is suing as a private citizen. Does that mean that Phil is paying his own attorney or are we paying for his private suit against a fellow taxpayer?

Anonymous said...

The tower space request from T-mobile has nothing to do with the chief, unless the conspiracy segment doesn't believe that.

I can't believe a company like T-Mobile would come in with a proposal unless they felt confident they could succeed. There have been questions in the past regarding the towers fitness. T-Mobile certainly is not going to invest the kind of money it takes to set up a cell site unless 1) They felt the tower is fine as is, or 2) They have plans to repair it. Cell sight selection and construction is an expensive and serious business for cell companies. Lots of study goes into it before they make a request.

People have been complaining for years about the crappy cell service in Atkinson. Here is a company willing to invest serious dollars to improve it.

That is the subject at hand, not what Phil may or have may not done in the past. Two, unrelated issues.

Anonymous said...

This is the same tower that Brian Kaye got the death threat over, and forced him out of town. Our Chief was the one hollering at Mr. Kaye. T-mobile’s plan is the same as the last plan, They couldn’t get their way from the court system, so why come back with the same plan again? Correct me if I’m wrong, but only T-mobile customers would get better reception, right?

Anonymous said...

This is the same tower that Brian Kaye got the death threat over, and forced him out of town. Our Chief was the one hollering at Mr. Kaye. T-mobile’s plan is the same as the last plan, They couldn’t get their way from the court system, so why come back with the same plan again? Correct me if I’m wrong, but only T-mobile customers would get better reception, right?

Anonymous said...

In Acciards case he was suing Phil personnally too. He even out in in the title, "not in any official capacity" But we are paying Phil's attornies anyway. I heard the town got dismissed almost a year ago, and we are STILL paying!

Anonymous said...

If Consentino initiated the lawsuit then taxpayers better damned well NOT be paying for the lawyer.

Can somebody find out if we are paying for it?

Anonymous said...

I read the counter claim from the Town's atty. Wow! It looks like they have a good case to win this.

For all of those wondering why they have filed a countersuit, it was voted in 2008 town meeting to vigorously file counter claims against frivolous lawsuits. So it appears the town will be paying for this.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of s!!t....two dead the "towels are kinda scratchy" too...I am *so* tired of spending humongous tax dollars for theoretical, anticipated risk. Why not find a solution that costs 10% of current estimates like femto cells (look it up on google or wikipedia, folks).

Anonymous said...

Well, you seem to have all the answers. Got your application for the Comm Committee in yet?

Anonymous said...

"For all of those wondering why they have filed a countersuit, it was voted in 2008 town meeting to vigorously file counter claims against frivolous lawsuits. So it appears the town will be paying for this."

Sure, and all the townies at the meeting who support Phil, Polito, Sapia etc. all voted for this at the meeting. It's on tape, watch it for yourself, March 2008 Town Meeting. These guys VOTED to have the taxpayers fund their legal fees. It's WRONG.

Anonymous said...

June 30, 2009 7:53 AM

"It's WRONG."

And also totally off topic. Not helping your case much.

Anonymous said...

Not my case, it's become OUR case.

Anonymous said...

Why does Atkinson need a tower when it is the highest place around? We must have an advantage over the other towns and you don't hear about them having problems.

Anonymous said...

"Not my case, it's become OUR case."

And it is still off topic. Post it where it belongs.

RE: June 30, 2009 12:23 PM

Atkinson's PD uses a repeater located at the Plaistow PD. If you look up the elevation of that area, compare it to the highest places in Atkinson, and look at the elevations west of that, you will see that any radio signal trying to get from the west Atkinson to Plaistow encounters a ridge of granite. Cruisers do not have a problem with that since they operate at relatively high power levels and have good antennas.

The problem is with the PD handhelds. They only output 5 Watts, have crummy antennas, and are mounted against a body of salt water (the officer). They can hear Plaistow, but Plaistow cannot hear them.

With the current setup, it is Atkinson's elevation that is contributing to the problem.

Anonymous said...

It belongs here, a response to someone else. Don't like it, ignore it.

If it's just the hand helds that are the problem, they can put repeaters in the cars. I cannot see why this would not help the situation for cheap money. Why is this repeatedly dismissed? (no pun intended)

Anonymous said...

Does Atkinson have a repeater at the PD?

Anonymous said...

What makes you think vechical repeaters are the cheapest solution? What data do you have they will even work with our current equipment. Do you have any inclination of the types of problems that could be incured?

My guess is that you don't know the answers to any of those questions. If you have some insight to share, address it to the new Comm Committee, who BTW, were just appointed last night. Give them at least a chance to meet before you dictate a solution.

As to why we use Plaistow - they do most of our dispatching and the repeater belongs to them. Not ideal but that is the way it is.

Anonymous said...

"Does Atkinson have a repeater at the PD?"

I did not answer that specifically. No, Atkinson does not own a repeater. Our PD shares Plaistow's.

Anonymous said...

"If it's just the hand helds that are the problem, they can put repeaters in the cars. I cannot see why this would not help the situation for cheap money. Why is this repeatedly dismissed? (no pun intended)"

Have you bothered to price these things? Then multiply that by the number of vehicles that will have to be equipped.

Try a little research before you declare a solution with "cheap money"

Anonymous said...

To previous, arrogant, crabby poster:

A couple of thousand each for the patrol cars is cheaper than $700k for a tower.

Anonymous said...

I'm only crabby because you post false information and give people the wrong ideas.

What makes you think there is going to be a $700K tower? That was two years ago and it died. What do you base this new assumption on? I would really like to know.

And, BTW, mobile repeaters, ones that work, are around the price of a small car, each. That is a little more than a couple of thousand.

Anonymous said...

Really? Where is your proof?

Anonymous said...

as to the cost?

Anonymous said...

Where's yours that they are only a couple of thousand?

And still have not heard where the $700K figure came from.

Anonymous said...

So you say anon July 1, 2009 12:04 PM doesn't have a clue and you want his proof before we all know you don't have a clue.


God help us.

Anonymous said...

He threw out a bunch of figures and I challenged him on it. He asked that I prove mine. Since he started this train of conversation, he should be first to back up his numbers.

And, I did not say he didn't have a clue. I said his information was false. Two entirely different things.

Since you have this ability to twist words around it is more likely you're the politician. I can assure you, I'm I don't even approach the definition of a politician, and certainly not an Atkinson one.

Anonymous said...

So I was right. You have no figures of your own, which means you don't have a clue. The fact you aren't from Atkinson means you souldn't be commenting here.

Go screw up your own town, we have enough problems here without you.

Anonymous said...

See, there you go twisting again.

I actually do have figures, but I wasn't the claiming the problem could be solved for a few thousand dollars as compared to $700K.

Considering the only response I got, other than your diatribe, was a question, no answers.

July 1, 2009 12:04 PM made a made some bold statements. What is wrong in asking him to back them up.

And where did you get the notion I was not from Atkinson. I never said that either. You're very good at putting words in other peoples mouths.

God help you.

Anonymous said...

Good Night John Boy.

Anonymous said...

Night Frank.

Anonymous said...

From July 1, 2009 12:04 PM :

SHE says: Look at the interesting bit of news in the ET on Sunday 7/5, Balwin thinks the new antenna at Timberlane (for a measly $6k) will "boost several area police departments. UNQUOTE.

BTW - There's alot of first responder units that use 800MHz repeaters and you can buy them for a few hundred $$. I was being generous.

google it

Anonymous said...

vehicle repeaters, that work very well from motorola, Ma-Com, and uniden are $750. - $1,500 each. Look on their respective sites.

Nice try.

Installation and antenna runs about $3-400 per unit.

$700k for the tower was Billy's figure from two years ago. ANd he threatened it would cost MORe if we let it wait, because construction costs would go up.