- What is EOEA?
The overall mission of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs ("EOEA") is to safeguard public health from environmental threats and to preserve, protect, and enhance the natural resources of the Commonwealth. EOEA achieves this mission working within its offices and its four departments: Department of Conservation and Recreation ("DCR"), Department of Agricultural Resources, Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Fish and Game.
- What about MDC (Metropolitan District Commission) and DEM (Department of Environmental Management)?
These two agencies were recently merged into a single department: the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). DCR owns the majority of the land under EOEA jurisdiction and consequently manages the antenna siting process.
- What is the connection between DCR and antennas?
DCR owns approximately 8% of Massachusetts land. In addition, DCR owns about 1,500 Buildings, 39 Pools, 39 Ice Skating Rinks, 270 Bridges, 263 Dams/Locks and 45 Fire Towers. These assets are located throughout the Commonwealth and are managed by DCR.
- Does DCR currently have antennas on its property?
To date, the DCR has selectively allowed for the placement of antennas on fire towers. Most of these antennas belong to public entities, but DCR also has license agreements and/or leases (where legislatively authorized; see discussion below about leases) with some of the major wireless carriers.
- What is the current policy for siting antennas on DCR properties?
As of 1997, Section 110 of Chapter 88 authorizes the placement of antennas on existing structures. These structures include: buildings, communication towers and properties. Thus, DCR is authorized to enter into licenses for terms not to exceed 5 years with private and public entities to place antennas on existing structures. Generally, longer-term arrangements are termed leases and typically require legislative approval.
- What is EOEA's current policy for building communication towers on state land or leasing state land for these purposes?
Generally, it is the policy of EOEA and its agencies to protect, preserve and enhance all open space areas covered by Article 97 of the Articles of Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Specifically, the Article 97 land disposition policy of February 19, 1998 states that, "as a general rule, EOEA and its agencies shall not sell, transfer, lease, relinquish, release, alienate, or change the control or use of any right or interest of the Commonwealth in and to Article 97 land." This disposition applies to all properties of the environmental agencies. In addition, the disposition policy shall only be deviated from under "exceptional circumstances." For a complete explanation of this policy, please visit the following website, http://www.mass.gov/envir/mepa/fourthlevelpages/article97policy.htm
- Who should I contact at EOEA about siting antennas on state property?
Please contact Nicholas Vontzalides at (617) 626-1320 or via e-mail at Nicholas.Vontzalides@state.ma.us .
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