Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 18, 2012

Letter: L'Italien stood up against cell tower company

The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

Several years ago, the state intended to erect a cell tower in our neighborhood. It would have hovered 75 feet above the treeline in state-owned property that borders the Trustees of the Reservation, Philiips Academy, and private property. The impact on the skyline, our property values, and our town’s future wireless tower proposals were at risk. Although we discovered a cell system was already in place, making the proposed tower irrelevant, a lack of public notice created a situation where town officials’ hands were tied and our rights through the legal system had timed out.

After appealing to all of our local legislators, only Barbara L’Italien took on our seemingly impossible cause. L’Italien attended our meetings and brought key government agents in to meet with us. She stayed in contact, followed up on commitments, and ultimately found a solution. She facilitated a meeting with the state Inspector General, who determined the proposed tower did not meet with the scope of the project under which it had been approved. L’Italien and the Inspector General continued to work with key state officials to legally and tactfully disengage from the contract with the cell-tower company. Throughout the entire process, she was able to mediate a tough situation, bring competing interests together, and successfully prevent the tower.

There is no doubt that our neighborhood’s success is owed to L’Italien’s ability to build bridges, start a conversation and bring people together. We remain impressed by her capacity to navigate politics and build the relationships to get things done. It was evident that she had earned the respect of the state officials we encountered, including those with conflicting interests. This is unusual in our political climate, where partisan politics, personal agendas, and egos often get in the way of successful representation, common sense, and doing what is right (but perhaps not easy).

We were fortunate to have Barbara L’Italien advocate for us and believe that the citizens of Merrimack Valley will be better served by electing her to represent us in the legislature.

Aileen Peters

Stone Post Road

Pam Dunn

Prospect Road