Residents in Mashpee hoping the cellphone tower proposed by the town in the southern part of Mashpee would go up quickly are getting no relief this week.
The town’s legal counsel advised that the two newly elected members of the Mashpee Planning Board should not sit in on the pending hearing in front of the board.
As a result, the applicants on behalf of the town, Blue Sky Towers, will likely request that the hearing begin anew, with five voting members sitting in.
The planning board has already held a number of hearings on the tower, one lasting over three hours.
Through the board of selectmen, the town issued a request for proposals two years ago to build a tower on Red Brook Road on the same parcel where Mashpee Fire Station 2 is located. Blue Sky Towers was granted the project. The company proposes building a 150-foot-tall tower.
The project has gone before the Cape Cod Commission, which gave the tower the green light; Town Meeting has debated the project, which resulted in a not-so-favorable outcome; and now the planning board is scheduled to continue its public hearing on the tower on Wednesday, June 19.
The board continued the discussion from a meeting in May and decided to hire an independent consultant to review some of the testimony filed by Blue Sky.
Since then, one planning board member, David W. Weeden, was voted off the board. Another board member David Kooharian did not seek reelection; that lead to the vacancy of his seat. Two new members, John F. Phelan and Joseph D. Callahan, were voted in as the newest members of the board.
With its opinion for the planning department, the town’s legal counsel referenced an appeals court decision in Massachusetts known as the Mullin case. A judge in the 1983 case ruled that if a planning board member misses more than one hearing when substantive plans were presented, that member cannot rule on the proposal.
Still, four members of the current board have been present for the hearings. Associate member Robert Hansen has sat through the hearings. He would continue to and could rule on the decision before the board.
But Town Planner Evan R. Lehrer said that the applicant, Blue Sky, has said that it wants a full board reviewing the material and ruling.
To approve a special permit, the board needs a supermajority of members voting in favor. If only four members were sitting in on the hearing, all four would need to approve the plans, Mr. Lehrer said.
The town planner said the town anticipates that Blue Sky will ask to restart the hearing and to have five members in on the hearing and vote.