OTISFIELD, Maine — As the Planning Board prepares to approve its court-ordered findings of fact document on Tuesday in an attempt to move ahead with the U.S. Cellular cell tower project on Scribner Hill Road, at least one family said they may be moving.
Cathy Dixon and her partner, Joe Brown, said that if the project is completed, when they sit on their back porch they will be staring at more than 60 feet of galvanized steel — the top of the proposed U.S. Cellular communication tower — instead of watching the tall pines sway in the wind.
“We’ve contacted a real estate agent. We’re very much thinking about selling,” Dixon said. She and Brown built their dream retirement home on Scribner Hill nine years ago.
The Cape-style house and landscaped gardens and stone fences at 401 Scribner Hill Road may now sit in the shadow of the 180-foot tower.
Dixon said the proposed tower will be sited only 260 feet from her garage. “It will look like it’s on top of our garage, 180 feet high,” she said. “We will see it all the time.”
It is a scenario that others on Scribner Hill and the surrounding area fear. Many on the hill and in the area signed on to become a “Friend of Scribner Hill” and with John Poto, Kristen Roy and others they are suing the town of Otisfield and U.S. Cellular in Oxford Superior Court claiming their right to be heard on the matter has been denied.
Dixon said they tried to show the effect of the tower on their property to the Appeals Board members. She said board members said they didn’t realize how close it would sit to their house. She tried to show a representative of U.S. Cellular, “who didn’t want to discuss it.”
She also claims the selectmen didn’t thoroughly research the available data
“The selectmen looked at what was given him instead of checking for themselves to see if it was true,” said Dixon.
She said the Planning Board shunned her attempts to inform them.
“The (Planning Board) will not look at the pictures, because they don’t want any new proof to prevent the tower from going up or to tell them they were wrong in their vote,” she said.
Dixon, 62, and Brown, 65, moved from Minot to the seven-acre parcel of land high on Scribner Hill at the junction of Ivory Hill Road. The site is where the former Scribner Hill Schoolhouse — a one-room schoolhouse that ceased being used in 1924 — used to be.
“We are the closest to the tower, and we will see the tower every time we go outside or drive up our driveway,” Dixon said. Although she supports the cause, Dixon said she is not a member of the Friends of Scribner Hill and their suit against the town and U.S. Cellular. Brown is.
“We have put our heart and soul here, and now to live under a cell tower makes us sick and upset all the time. Yes, we need progress, not at the heartaches of others,” Dixon said.
The Planning Board is set to vote on their facts of finding at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Otisfield Town Hall.