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BallardVale Cell Tower

The Andover Zoning Board of Appeals is hearing an application for a new 135' tall cell tower at the end of Dale Street in BallardVale. The Tower is proposed to be located within 100' of neighboring houses and will have a significant impact on the adjacent Historic District.

The applicant is doing a balloon test today (Saturday March 10th) from 8am to 4pm to show the relative height of the proposed structure. I will post photo updates later this weekend. Below is a letter I sent to the Andover Zoning Board this week. I have also included an aerial site plan I prepared to show the proximity of the tower to the adjacent residential abutters.  I also took some drone shots of the balloon test today, see below.

Please send your thoughts and comments to the Zoning Board of Appeals via email to

The next hearing is schedule for April 5, 2018 at 7pm in the Selectmen's Room in Andover Town Hall.

March 8, 2018

Ms. Elizabeth Oltman, Chair
Andover Zoning Board of Appeals
Town of Andover
36 Bartlet Street
Andover, MA 01810

Re:  212 Andover Street  - Wireless Communication Tower Special Permit.

Dear Ms. Oltman and Members of the Andover Zoning Board of Appeals;

I am writing in opposition to the Special Permit application filed for a Wireless Communications Tower at 212 Andover Street in BallardVale.  I have reviewed the files, plans, and documents submitted by the applicant and would urge you to deny this Special Permit. Specifically, I would offer that the application should be denied on the following grounds.

1.    As detailed below, this application fails to meets the general purpose and intent of Section 6.1 and 6.1.2 of the Andover Zoning Bylaw.

2.  This Special Permit fails to meet the criteria of Section 9.4.2 of the Andover Zoning Bylaw. Specifically, This application is unreasonably detrimental to the established and future character of the neighborhood, adjacent BallardVale Historic District and Town.

Section 6.1.2 of the Andover Zoning Bylaw - Wireless Communications Tower (Section 6.1) includes design standards as outlined below.

6.1.2 - Design Standards.
Setback and Height. Towers, antenna, antenna support structures and other vertical elements of wireless communications facilities situated on property abutting a residential district or on a lot in residential use, or upon property in a residential district shall be set back from the nearest residential lot line, even if that lot line is in another municipality, a horizontal distance at least equal to three times their vertical height.

The general purpose and intent of this section are that wireless communication towers be located no closer than three (3) times the height of the tower to the closest residential property. The proposed wireless tower is designed to stand 125' tall, typically requiring a setback of 375' to the closest residential property. The proposed tower is approximately 125' away from the closest home. The language of the bylaw is clear and strong, even crossing Town boundaries to provide similar protection to residential abutters in neighboring communities.  I would argue that this protection is also clearly intended to apply to the residential homes on Dale Street as they are also located within the required 375' tower setback required in the bylaw. Please refer to the attached locus plan showing the limit of the 375' setback and the impacted residential properties.

Further, this tower will have a significant impact on the character, aesthetics and natural environment associated with the adjacent Ballardvale Historic District. BallardVale is the Town of Andover's only registered Historic District and is one of the few districts designated on the National Historic Register. The BallardVale Historic District was established by the Town of Andover in 1995 with the intent to preserve the significant, distinctive architecture and rich character left to us by the 19th and 20th-century residents of BallardVale. The purpose of establishing the BallardVale Historic District are outlined in Chapter 40C of the Massachusetts General Laws to accomplish the following objectives:

1.   To preserve and protect the distinctive characteristics of the buildings and places significant to the history of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns.
2.   To maintain and improve the settings of those buildings and places.
3.   To encourage compatibility with existing buildings when new buildings are planned within the district.

The introduction of a Wireless Communications tower with a height of 125' will be visible throughout all of the BallardVale Historic District and is contrary to the above goals established by Chapter 40C. The negative impact this tower will have on the historic character, aesthetics and natural environment of the neighborhood, and specifically to the homes and businesses within the BallardVale Historic District, are significant.

Finally, section 9.4.2 of the Andover Zoning Bylaw requires that the Andover Zoning Board, acting as the Special Permit Granting Authority, determine if this proposed use will be "unreasonably detrimental to the established or future character of the neighborhood and Town and that such use is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this bylaw."  Given the tower's proximity to the residential homes on Dale Street and the impact that a 125' tower would have on the established character of the adjacent Historic District, I would urge you to deny this request for a Special Permit.


Christian C. Huntress
17 Tewksbury Street
Andover, MA 01810

cc;        BallardVale Historic District Commission
            Andover Preservation Commission

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