Gridcom, owned by one of the world’s largest utilities corporations, intends to build a 190-foot cell tower next to park land in Lincolnville, right in the middle of Bald Rock’s spectacular 200-degree view. The tower would rise as much as 140 feet or more above the tree canopy of the forest skirt sweeping down to Penobscot Bay.
Although feasible technological alternatives to tall cell towers exist, along with lower-impact sites, Gridcom declined to consider these, even when requested to do so by Lincolnville’s Planning Board. The company scoffed at the idea of working with townspeople toward a sensible solution that could have provided improved cell-phone coverage without irrevocably altering a cherished land- and seascape.
The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, Midcoast Audubon, the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce, and the Lincolnville Business Group have all spoken out publicly against this tower. MBPL called Bald Rock "one of the finest views in the state." Stellar views are what draw more people to the Camden Hills for day hikes than any other state park in Maine.
(See the BRC fund raising letter for more quotes and facts describing why this stunning natural resource is important for our region, the whole state, and the many people who come to Maine seeking beautiful hikes.)
In this location, Gridcom’s 190-foot tower would be within a town-designated scenic viewshed and in violation of Lincolnville’s Comprehensive Plan and ordinances. The town’s Planning Board denied the proposed cell tower application three times. The town’s Board of Appeals overturned the Planning Board’s rulings and approved the tower.
A group of eleven Lincolnville residents filed an 80B appeal, asking Waldo County Superior Court to reinstate the Lincolnville Planning Board’s decisions denying the tower application. They did so as citizen-advocates, supporting their town’s Planning Board, Comprehensive Plan, and ordinances whose express intent was to protect irreplaceable natural resources such as Bald Rock that offer outstanding environmental, recreational, and economic benefits to Midcoast communities and the entire state.
Lincolnville, Camden, Rockport and Rockland residents and many others decided this view is worth protecting. They have joined the Bald Rock Community, supporting the eleven Lincolnville residents’ efforts to preserve the scenic viewshed of Bald Rock Mountain and promote alternatives to tall monopole cell towers.
Update: Bald Rock Community 80B Brief Filed
The 80B legal brief, including a 900-page “Record of Proceedings on Appeal,” was filed in Waldo County Superior Court on September 27. Gridcom had 30 days to respond. Because Lincolnville’s Board of Appeals ruled against the town’s Planning Board, the town also had 30 days to respond to the appeal. The 80B group will reply to Gridcom's and the town's briefs. The Judge can then schedule a hearing.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine is BRC’s fiscal sponsor, providing non-profit status for tax-deductible donations. Since Fall 2006, BRC has successfully raised over $30,000, which went to legal fees and expert witnesses (about $1,000 paid for fundraising expenses).
Current legal fees owed total more than $24,000. BRC anticipates at least another $20,000 in legal expenses. Those are daunting amounts for a small group of eleven individuals acting out of love for a unique wild place and a belief that this is a precedent-setting case defending locally-defined smart land-use planning in the face of scattershot development by a global communications corporation with no personal stake in our community and our state other than profit-making and their bottom line.
To join or support the Bald Rock Community, click here.