CSC: Monroe Docket No. 207 Opinion

DOCKET NO 207 - James E. Dwyer Co., Inc. application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance and operation of a cellular telecommunications facility at 500 Moose Hill Road, Monroe, Connecticut. }

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Connecticut Siting
Council March 21, 2002

Opinion

On July 16, 2001, James E. Dwyer Co., Inc. (Dwyer) applied to the Connecticut Siting Council (Council) for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) to construct, operate, and maintain a cellular telecommunications facility at 500 Moose Hill Road, Monroe, Connecticut.  The property owner is St. Johnís Greek Catholic Cemetery Association.  The purpose of the proposed facility is to facilitate the provision of wireless telecommunications service to southeastern Monroe, western Shelton, and northeastern Trumbull.

The public need for cellular telephone facilities has been determined both by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 which has declared a general public need for wireless service, established a market structure for system development, and developed technical standards that have restricted the design of facilities.  These pre-emptive determinations by the FCC have resulted in a system of numerous cellular telecommunications facilities in nearly all areas of the country.  Connecticut State law directs the Council to balance the need for development of proposed cellular telecommunications facilities with the need to protect the environment, including public health and safety.

The proposed site would include a 180-foot monopole within a 50-acre parcel, which is used as a cemetery.  The equipment compound would be 100 feet by 80 feet and be enclosed by an 8-foot high wooded fence.    Approximately 16 trees with diameters of six inches or greater at breast height would be required to construct the proposed site and access road.  There are twenty-three homes within a 1000-foot radius of the proposed site, the nearest of which is approximately 600 feet to the east.

On January 25, 2001, the Town of Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission denied an application for the construction of a 130-foot wireless telecommunications facility camouflaged as a church and steeple at 500 Moose Hill Road.  The Planning and Zoning Commission stated that the applicant failed to demonstrate that the proposal met the purpose, intent, requirements, and design criteria of the Zoning Regulations.  The Town cited that the applicant could not be considered a provider and therefore could not yield propagation specific to any wireless carrier.

The Monroe Fire Department has submitted a proposal to the Town of Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission for a public safety communications tower that would be located on the corner of Moose Hill Road and Route 110.  The applicant reviewed this site but rejected it because it is located in close proximity to residential homes, and is directly across the street from the Monroe Historic District boundary.

At the Council hearing held on October 16, 2001, it was discovered that the two abutting cemeteries did not receive notice of the proposed project.  Following the hearing the applicant notified these two adjacent congregations, one of which BíNai Israel requested that the proposed facility be moved to farther away from their property.  The applicant proposed to relocate the facility 300 feet to the north, to which BíNai Israel and St. Johnís Cemetery (the property owner) have no objection. The Council reopened this docket for the purpose of resolving a potential due process error in that a 300-foot relocation of the proposed tower may affect the rights of the surrounding residents.  The revised site would provide wireless coverage similar to the originally proposed site.  Visibility would be increased slightly to adjacent residents from the revised site through the trees.  There would be no additional clearing of trees for the construction of the revised proposed site.

The proposed site is in a location with continuous bands of deciduous vegetation present along the surrounding roads, which may reduce the visibility of the facility to the surrounding properties and roadways.  Due to the location of the proposed site, surrounded by a residentially zoned area, a 130-foot tower would be appropriate.  The applicant stated that locating antennas at the 90-foot level would provide adequate coverage to the design service area.  Beginning at the 90-foot level, about 5 carriers would be able to locate antennas on a 130-foot tower.  The applicant submitted propagation coverage maps showing existing coverage with proposed coverage at the 180-foot, 140-foot and 100-foot levels, which do not appear to be significantly different from one another.  According to the coverage plots provided, a wireless provider using a frequency of approximately 1900 mhz would yield adequate coverage from the 180-foot, 140-foot and 100-foot levels.

There are no known existing populations of federally recognized endangered or threatened species or Connecticut species of special concern occurring at the proposed site.  Also, the development of this facility would have no effect on the Stateís historical, architectural, or archaeological resources listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Electromagnetic radio frequency power density levels are a concern of the Council.  The radio frequency power density levels calculated for AT&T at the 180-foot level at the base of the proposed tower would be well below federal and state standards for the frequencies used by wireless companies.  If federal or state standards change, the Council will require that the tower be brought into compliance with such standards.  The Council will require that the power densities be remodeled when other carriers add antennas to this tower.

Based on the record in this proceeding, we find that the effects associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the telecommunications facility at the revised proposed site, including effects on the natural environment; ecological integrity and balance; public health and safety; scenic, historic, and recreational values; forests and parks; air and water purity; and fish and wildlife are not disproportionate either alone or cumulatively with other effects when compared to need, are not in conflict with policies of the State concerning such effects, and are not sufficient reason to deny this application.  Therefore, we will issue a Certificate for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a 130-foot telecommunications facility at the revised proposed site located at 500 Moose Hill Road, Monroe.



Content Last Modified on 10/9/2002 12:56:41 PM