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Letter: Setting the record straight on attorney advice for Lenox wireless bylaw

To the editor: I write to set the record straight on why the Lenox Planning Board, working on our much-needed wireless communications bylaw, chooses to rely on the advice of our Town Counsel Joel Bard of KP Law, rather than start over with "anti-cell tower" lawyers.

I am a member of the Planning Board, a former member of the Zoning Board and an attorney of 37 years licensed to practice in Massachusetts and New York. Working with attorney Bard and with other consultants over the past two years, the Planning Board has crafted a thorough, detailed bylaw that 1. creates the opportunity for better cell service throughout Lenox and 2. firmly restores maximum powers to our Zoning Board in deciding any applications.

Attorney Bard is exceptionally qualified to help us in this work. Since the adoption of the Federal Telecommunications Act in 1996, he and his firm have advised, litigated and continued to study wireless issues, including all FCC regulations and relevant legal decisions. Ninety-five percent of the firm’s work is with municipalities like Lenox. The firm has never represented any telecom firm.

Lenox is very fortunate to have attorney Bard advising the Planning Board on the complexities of wireless communications bylaws. He is experienced, impartial and, importantly, not pushing any agenda other than to promote good, solid zoning bylaws that serve and protect the town. He has approved our draft bylaw, assuring it is complete and very sound. He also recognized this is a controversial issue and that, in his opinion, “The board has done an excellent job of balancing the interests of all residents of the town.”

Despite this top-quality, rational advice, opponents now say that they want us to rip up all this work and start from scratch with the lawyer behind AntiCellTowerLawyers.com. The Planning Board listened to the proposal from opponents, read the materials provided and decided it was in the best interests of the town to continue with attorney Bard. Attorneys that identify themselves as “anti-cell tower” do so to appeal to a specific group and do not have the neutrality to draft and review bylaws that protect our town while achieving the goal of better wireless service.

We bring to annual town meeting on May 4 a bylaw that gives our Zoning Board greater control than what exists currently while at the same time allows for expanding coverage to serve the entire community.

Susan Lyman, Lenox

The writer is a Lenox Planning Board member.

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