Atkinson Town Hall

Atkinson Town Hall
The Norman Rockwellian picture of Atkinson

There is a NEW POLL at Right--------------------->

Don't forget to VOTE!
Make your voice heard!

Welcome Message and Mission Statement

Welcome to the NEW Atkinson Reporter! Under new management, with new resolve.

The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

This Blog will not fall to outside hacks from anyone, especially insecure public officials afraid of their constituents criticism.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Atkinson residents oppose tower plan

From the Eagle Tribune;

Atkinson residents oppose tower plan
By Eric Parry

ATKINSON — Residents living near the Hog Hill tower turned out last night to again voice their opposition to a proposal to add three antennas to the 160-foot structure.

Last night's public hearing was the third in three months. After each of the first two hearings, selectmen requested additional information from the applicant.

Attorney Steven Grill, representing SBA Tower II, told selectmen he opposes the repeated public hearings on the proposal to add three flush-mounted antennas to the tower because no one is adding anything new to the discussion.

"We don't think the public has a right to speak, we think the public has a privilege to speak," Grill said, after describing residents' opposition as "hostile."

But selectmen said they would continue to allow residents to speak on the issue. About a half dozen of the approximately 15 residents to attend the hearing at Town Hall addressed selectmen.

Selectman Bill Bennett said he expects his board to have a workshop on the issue next month, likely generating more questions and possibly another public hearing.

Similar proposals for the site have been considered by the town since 2006. The latest is almost identical to the one denied a special exception by the Zoning Board of Adjustment in March 2007.

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

The three antennas are expected to improve T-Mobile's cell phone service in Atkinson, primarily near Route 121.

There were some new details released at last night's meeting, but resident Karen Donnelly said she is disappointed in the lack of specifics on some matters.

Donnelly said she is still concerned about people who appear to be technicians working on the tower day and night without her knowing who they are and what they are doing.

"I tend to be a little emotional after 11 years of this same conversation," Donnelly said, referring to a court settlement at that time.

Bennett recommended a fence be installed around the property to help alleviate safety concerns.

"It's part of the problem that the previous owners have not addressed," Bennett said.

Residents also said they were concerned about the tower's ability to handle the new antennas.

But Grill said the tower was inspected by a structural engineer who recommended new foundations for the tower's guy lines. Once new foundations are installed, the tower wouldn't have any problems supporting the additional weight, he said.

"We don't want this thing falling down any more than the town or the residents do," Grill said.

Resident Sheldon Wolfe, an abutter, said he's concerned that if T-Mobile is given permission to install the three antennas, the town may be obligated to allow other companies to install antennas, too.

Wolfe also questioned what effect the changes to the tower would have on property values in the area.

But Grill said the town wouldn't have to allow other companies to place antennas on the tower. They just wouldn't be allowed to exclude them from locating elsewhere in town.

"If you don't allow this application, someone else will come back with another tower nearby," Grill said.


Anonymous said...

Maybe back in 2004, when the town had the chance to BUY the tower for $120,000 the selectmen should have just gone and done it. Then this wouldn't be an issue still.

This is T-Mobile 4th attempt to get their equipment on that tower.

Anonymous said...

I like where the company rep, says "the public doesn't have a right to speak" Hey shit head, in this town the abutters and neighborhood residents should ALWAYS have the RIGHT to speak!

Anonymous said...

Attorney Steven Grill has done exactly what all the previous owners of the site have done. They have not made nice with the neighbors. He effectively told them he wants them to shut up.

If SBA had any sense the first thing they would do is fire Mr. Grill, hire someone with a better bedside manner, and then visit each abutter to present their case, listen to the complaints, and make a best effort to address them.

SBA has now shown they feel a sense of entitlement rather than humility as they should.

Anonymous said...

I got the impression that SBA believes they WILL way or another. They shot Sandy Carter down faster than a speeding bullet. Sandy was (still is?) on the ZBA when this issue first came up, and he knows more about the background than anyone else in town.

However...are they grandfathered? The tower was there before we had zoning. It was there at least in 1963, which is when I move4d to town. Does that have an impact?

Anonymous said...

I understand the opposition to a non-existing tower but this one has been there for decades! They just want to hang some cell antennas off the side of it. This could be the worse case of NIMBY I have ever seen. Improvement in cell service would be a plus for everyone not just for convenience but for safety. It's called progress.

Anonymous said...

Which tower did the PD install the equipment they got from the Federal Grant in '05 to fix their communication problem?

Anonymous said...

Wow! This can get very tangled!! First the town did not want improvement and extended uses of this tower. Then, Mr. Bryan Kaye leaves town because of receiving threats because of opposition to the extended use of this tower, their root being the police department wanted to expand its use and put some new communications equipment on the tower.

Then we go through 5 years of “we need an expensive tower” to give the police department better hand held communications. All the time knowing that Plaistow got a grant for equipment and some of this equipment was reported to be for Atkinson. And It has been reported to the “grantor” that the equipment was installed, But we can not guess where in Atkinson because the communication problems that the equipment putatively corrected apparently still exists.

We now have a BOS who has shown no inclination to solve problems. They have reestablished “communication tower” committees and now gone and hired a former police chief as administrator that we can not anticipate will work in any direction other than complete support of the current Atkinson police administration.

We are not making progress folks!!

Anonymous said...

THAT's a GREAT question! but I heard the chief say, in '06 that they didn't get that equipment because they had to wait for Plaistow to get matching funds from their budget.

Does anyone know the details of this?

Maybe Mr. Acciard, he is usually pretty good on budget stuff?

Anonymous said...

there are a bunch of issues on that tower.

Houses within it's fall zone, cell repeater radiation, weight of the total devices up there, support equipment at the base, and the fact that the settlement prior said NO expansion. Now this judge has left it in the hands of the selectmen. Thank God we don't have the last bunch of selectmen!

Anonymous said...

Why do we have a communication problem if we got the equipment to fix it in 05?

Why did they request a tower two years ago if it was already fixed?

Where is the equipment from this 05 grant?

Anonymous said...

RE: September 22, 2009 1:02 PM

No radio equipment to resolve the communications problem has ever been installed in Atkinson. The problem has not been fixed.

If equipment was purchased I'm sure the communications committee would love to know where it is.

Anonymous said...

"knowing that Plaistow got a grant for equipment and some of this equipment was reported to be for Atkinson. And It has been reported to the “grantor” that the equipment was installed, But we can not guess where in Atkinson because the communication problems that the equipment putatively corrected apparently still exists.

MAcciard said...

In 2004, Plaistow applied for and got an LETTP Grant from the Dept. of Homeland Security, through the NH Dept. of Safety, for the sole purpose of "minimizing police communications dead spots within the Plaistow- Atkinson area" In the amount of $81,000.00. The grant was applied for by Plaistow, in conjunction with the 6 bordering towns.

The equipment was purchased through 2Way communications and installed in 2005.

It was certified to the Grantor, that the equipment was installed partly in the Plaistow communications center, with some equipment installed on towers in Atkinson and Kingston. It was certified, in 2005, and 2006, to be "installed, operating, and fulfilling it's mission"(minimizing communications dead spots.

In June 2006, was the infamous selectmen meeting where Brian Kaye bowed out of public life, and where he detailed this grant and it's equipment. The Chief responded by chasing him out into the hallway yelling at him, then returning to spend the next 10 minutes or so verbally bashing Mr. Kaye.

One of his remarks was that We never received that equipment because Plaistow had to wait for matching funds from it's budget. He stated that Mr Kaye needed to get his facts straight.

Mr. Kaye DID have his facts straight, it was the chief who was... um... misleading (use of a stronger word would probably get me sued again). In fact Plaistow's town report from 2005 acknowledges the receipt of the grant, the installation and performance of the equipment, and specifically states that the grant was obtained "WITH NO MATCH(ing funds) NEEDED".

I report, you decide.

I, too, would like to know where this equipment is, where it was installed, how it is functioning, and if, as certified to the grantor, it is fulfilling it's original mission.

I would also like to know why three communications committees, never found out about this, and why none of this came out in our tower discussions at town meeting two years ago.

Anonymous said...


I want to know too.

A Federal Homeland Security Grant supplies Atkinson PD equipment to solve this problem in 05. Great! It should be pretty easy to find out whether we got cash or equipment. Plaistow will have the records of who received what. Better yet, the Feds will have records!

I wonder who has the goods? Hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

I I can tell you why this was never reported to the other committees. IN MY OPINION, the Atkinson Mafia struck again. Phil lied and the selectmen kept their usual BLIND EYE to the facts, so Phil could get what he wanted for his department.

The question now, who is going to DEMAND the facts of where the equipment is and it's performance? If Phil certified the equipment was installed and working, the Selectmen MUST tell the taxpayers where it is. If it's not installed and working, the Grantor MUST BE INFORMED BY THE SELECTMEN, and Phil HAS to be fired and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If the Selectmen won’t do it, than a whistle blower must come forward. Theft of Grant money is against the law.

If the selectmen stick their heads into the ground again, they should also be prosecuted.

If the Taxpayers of Atkinson are forced to go through another NEW TOWER issue and vote, God help us.

What part of NO doesn't the BOS and Phil get? The Mafia MUST be eliminated from the GOOD PEOPLE of Town.

Phil is not your friend and neither are the BOS.


Anonymous said...

My mind is going...but somewhere around 2005/2006, the police had money somewhere to install equipment in vehicles.


Anonymous said...

When is someone gonna report the missing equipment? Its a no brainer. More illegal use of funds it sounds like to me.

Not to change the subject but did anyone see the part of the Selectmen's meeting where our road agent battled with selectmen after getting a formal reprimand in his personnel file? Sounds like our recycling area is a place for Ted's friends to dump whatever and take whatever they want. Ted tried to play the role of being picked on again. I think it backfired. He needs a new act.

Then the Technology comittee reported the town hall needs a new tech support guy and tried to get the library to share its server room with the town. It sounded like the library told em to go pound sand and accused them of being a selectmens tool to takeover the library. Boy the library and selectmen just cant get along can they? I read the report by the tech committee. Sounded good. Whassup with the libary? Didn't we just spend 2 or 3 million bucks on that? And they can't share a server room? Gimme a break.

No tribune story on the last two? I guess the tower story sells more papers.

Anonymous said...

I watched that meeting, and it sounded to me as if Teddy's biggest complaint was that the Selectmen didn't issue the complaint, and Town Administrator did. On that one point, i think Teddy's right. He's an elected town official, who's been in office for at least 15 years. At least his reprimand should be signed by the Board.

Library is still ticked off that the Selectmen didn't appoint the people they recommended to serve as a Trustees. Moreover, it is "their" building and they do have complete control according to the RSAs.

Anonymous said...

It may be "their" building, but it was still paid for by the tax payers. Time to get rid of the little fiefdoms people are building for themselves at the expense of the tax payers!

Anonymous said...

When are they going to reprimand Phil and Cunningham for working on personal business on town time?

Ask them that Ted.

MAcciard said...

If that is true, I want to know why my tax dollars are paying town employees to work for a private business?

If that is the town's policy, I am certain that I have work for them to do as well.

Anonymous said...

"It may be "their" building, but it was still paid for by the tax payers."

It is not "their" building. It is our, i.e. taxpayer, building. The library board may be responsible for it but it is the taxpayers who provided the funding to build it and it is us who pay the salaries and the bills.

I don't care if the board is ticked off. But if this leads to taxpayer spending that did not need to happen then it will be the taxpayers who will be ticked off.

Anonymous said...

It's true Mark.

It's a fact that people are working on the private slush fund during town time.

Both parties should be fired.

MAcciard said...

If that is the case it is the selectmen's duty to deal with this. They have fiduciary responsibility for the expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

I would also like to know at what meeting did the selectmen VOTE to modify the rockwell building by altering that window? And where did the money come from, and on whose authority?

Anonymous said...

Article Submission:

Editorial: Cell phones need towers to function

Cell phone towers are a necessity for the kind of communication technology we all now take for granted.

Hardly anyone is thrilled to have one nearby — most people aren't big fans of utility poles, sewer treatment plants and trash incinerators either — but they are all part of the price we must pay if we want the advantages of modern life.

So Atkinson, N.H., residents who are continuing to protest a proposal to add three antennas to the existing Hog Hill tower should ask themselves if they are willing to live without their cell phones, and if they want to deny adequate cell phone reception to themselves and others in town.

The three antennas are expected to improve T-Mobile's service in Atkinson, particularly near Route 121. But so far, there have been three public hearings on the matter in the past three months, with yet another probably in the works.

Among their objections are that there is not a fence around the site, and their concern that the tower may not be able to bear the weight of the new antennas, and could fall. Those are substantive issues, but should be easily addressed. The Board of Selectmen could order the applicant, SBA Tower II, to construct the fence. The company's attorney, Stephen Grill, said a structural engineer had inspected the tower and recommended new foundations for the tower's guy lines. Once that is done, the extra weight would not create a problem.

And three public hearings on the issue ought to be plenty to gather information from those in favor and those opposed. More than that smacks of intentional stalling.

If town officials don't want the added antennas, they should make a decision. But they should keep in mind that one obvious consequence could be that there will be pressure for more towers. Why not use one to the greatest extent possible instead of indirectly forcing more to be built? Cell phones are not going away. Neither are towers. But this is one way to keep them to a minimum.

Anonymous said...