CSC: Docket No 213 Opinion

DOCKET NO. 213 - Sprint Spectrum, L.P. d/b/a Sprint PCS 
application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and 
Public Need for the construction, maintenance, and operation 
of a wireless telecommunications facility at 23 Stony Lane, or 51 Stony Lane, Stafford, Connecticut. 






March 21, 2002


On September 28, 2001, Sprint Spectrum L.P., d/b/a Sprint PCS (Sprint) applied to the Connecticut Siting Council (Council) for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a wireless telecommunications facility at 23 Stony Lane or 51 Stony Lane in Stafford, Connecticut.  The applicant, Citizens for Neighborhood Preservation, and Town of Stafford are parties and intervenors in this proceeding.

The primary purpose of the proposed facility is to provide wireless telecommunications coverage to existing gaps in the area, and additional call handling capacity along Route 32 and local roads in the north Stafford area.

The proposed sites are on properties which abut each other, are approximately 1,320 feet apart, have similar elevations above mean sea level, are within wooded areas, and are set back from adjacent residential development. The tower radius for both sites would remain on the lessorís property. Electric and telephone utilities would be installed underground, and neither site would require air navigation lighting or marking.

Development of the proposed prime site would require clearing of approximately 60 to 70 trees with diameters of 6-inches or greater at breast height along approximately 1,000-foot access drive and 10,000 square-foot leased area and may indirectly impact nearby inland wetlands located downslope of the access drive and site.  No trees with diameters of 6-inches or greater at breast height would need to be cleared for development of the proposed alternate site; however, 3,100 square feet of inland wetland would be filled to construct the access road.  This inland wetland was created by previous man-made disturbance and does not offer significant wetland functions such as nutrient retention, flood storage capacity and cover or wildlife values nor offers any renovation value due to the present activity of grazing by beef cattle being raised by the property owner. Although both proposed sites are remote from residents in the area, the visibility of the proposed alternate tower would be less visible than the proposed prime tower because it would be centrally located within a larger forested parcel. While either site has potential impacts to the environment the Council believes clearing of mature trees at the prime site is significant and could impact undisturbed wetlands downslope compared to no clearing of trees with diameters of 6-inches or greater at breast height and the filling of a man-made inland wetland with minor restorative value. Therefore, we will direct the applicant to construct a tower at the proposed alternate site.

The applicant seeks to develop a 150-foot tower on either the proposed prime or alternate site.  The purpose of a 150-foot tower would be to accommodate Sprint, two future carriers and public safety entities. The Town of Stafford Fire Department expressed an interest to share the proposed facility.

The Council has carefully analyzed the record in this proceeding including a proposed site located off Stafford Street in the Town of Stafford (Council Docket No. 212) and a future site to be developed in Monson, Massachusetts located approximately four miles north of the proposed Stony Lane site.  While the Stafford Street or Monson, Massachusetts sites would not provide coverage to Route 32 in the north Stafford area they will provide call handoff capability with either of the proposed Stony Lane sites. Therefore, the proposed Stony Lane facility would be an integral component of Sprintís network to provide seamless wireless coverage to those portions of Route 32 that would not otherwise be served by existing and proposed facilities in the area.  Consequently, based on a detailed analysis of propagation, capacity, and signal strength the Council finds a technical need for a new tower.  Nonetheless, Sprintís coverage objectives from either proposed Stony Lane site tower could be achieved at 120 feet above ground level and still support two additional carriers.  Since no other carriers have expressed a present need for the proposed facility off Stony Lane, the Council will order that a tower of 120 feet above ground level be constructed. In addition, this reduction in height would further reduce visibility of the proposed tower.

Neither the proposed prime or alternate sites contain known extant populations of Federal or State Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern Species; nor would the proposed construction of either site affect the stateís archaeological heritage. Furthermore, there are no sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places or any National Historic districts in the vicinity of the proposed prime or alternate site.

Electromagnetic radio frequency power density levels are a concern of the Council.  However, the radio frequency power density at the base of the proposed tower would be well below federal and State standards for the frequency used by Sprint.  If new carriers are added or federal or state standards change, we will require that all carriers comply with such standards.

We appreciate the Town of Staffordís effort to review and provide recommendations for siting wireless telecommunications facilities in their community. In this case, the municipality requested the alternative site be approved, that utilities be installed underground, and in the event the tower is not used for three months said tower should be removed at the ownerís expense. The Council will approve the alternate site, order that the utilities be installed underground, and if the tower ceases to provide wireless services the applicant shall dismantle the tower and remove the associated equipment within sixty days or reapply for any continued or new use to the Council.

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 proposed alternate 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 telecommunications facility at the proposed alternate site located at 51 Stony Lane, Connecticut.  The Council will deny certification of the proposed prime site.

Our decision will be conditioned upon the Certificate Holder submitting a Development and Management Plan for approval by the Council prior to commencement of any construction at the facility site.

Content Last Modified on 10/9/2002 1:02:14 PM