Lawsuit against Bow Planning Board over cell tower project heads to court

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 10-26-2023 5:54 PM

A lawsuit against the Bow planning board is heading to court next week as residents have filed a complaint alleging that the planning board neglected to comply with local ordinances in its handling of a cell tower project.

The lawsuit, filed by Kristina and Rob Parisien, abutters of the proposed cell tower in Bow will be heard at the Merrimack County Superior Court on Oct. 31 at 10 a.m.

The Parisiens, residents of Bow for 12 years, live on Branch Londonderry Turnpike East and enjoy unobstructed views of nature. However, their property is situated 300 feet from the proposed cell tower, which would loom 100 feet above the tree line.

Local ordinances in Bow specify that personal wireless service facilities should not exceed 90 feet in height from the graded surrounding area and should not rise more than 20 feet above the tree canopy. Despite these regulations, the planning board approved the tower by waiving these ordinances.

In response to this decision, the Parisiens filed an appeal at the Merrimack County Superior Court. Their challenge centers on the planning board’s choice to bypass the town’s zoning ordinance.

The Parisiens said they are not opposing the installation of a cell tower in the area. Rather, their focus is on ensuring that the process adheres to the guidelines set by the town ordinances.

In Bow, poor cell service has been a complaint for years with many dead spots across the town. But a warrant article approved last year allowed the town to lease land for no longer than 30 years to a cell phone carrier to install a cell phone tower, which could offer better reception for residents.

The 62-acre parcel of town-owned land on Branch Londonderry Turnpike, where the cell tower was proposed to be built, is bordered by properties on Crockett, Laurel, and Sharon drives, and Branch Londonderry Turnpike East.

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Abutters like the Parisiens are concerned over the town’s approach in approving the cell tower.

Rising Tide Towers, LLC, a wireless infrastructure company with facilities in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, submitted a proposal to erect a self-supported 190-foot cell tower at the center of the parcel.