CSC: Docket No. 218 Opinion

DOCKET NO. 218 - Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance, and operation of a cellular telecommunications facility on 744 Middletown Road, Lot 65A Westchester Road, or Lot 13 Middletown Road, Colchester, Connecticut.  }

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Connecticut

Siting

Council

May 7, 2002

Opinion

On November 5, 2001, Crown Atlantic Company (Crown) and Cellco Partnership (Cellco) d/b/a Verizon, applied to the Connecticut Siting Council (Council) for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a cellular telecommunications facility in the Town of Colchester, Connecticut.  The proposed number one site is located at 744 Middletown Road, the proposed number two site at Lot 65A, Westchester Road, and the proposed number three site is at Lot 13, Middletown Road, Colchester, Connecticut.

The applicant has shown the need for a tower in this area of Colchester to fill existing coverage gaps along Route 149 and Route 16 in particular.  Cellco has antennas on two existing towers in Colchester and one tower in East Hampton.  Use of existing towers in Salem and East Haddam owned by other companies was explored but rejected because they would not provide coverage to the existing gaps on Routes 16 and 149 in Colchester.

Proposed site number one is located near the intersection of Route 16 and Route 149 behind a pizza restaurant in Colchester, and proposed site number two is located approximately 200 feet to the northwest.  Both sites would require 180-foot towers.  The Council is concerned about the potential visibility of such a tower in this area of homes and businesses.  Additionally, both sites would be visible from the Henry Champion House, a site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Motorists traveling westward on Route 16 to the intersection of Route 149 would have a prominent unscreened view of either proposed tower.  Proposed site number three is located approximately 0.8 miles to the west of proposed sites one and two.  Proposed site number three is within a 63-acre parcel of land and is surrounded by mature forest.  An existing logging road of approximately 1950 feet from Route 16 would serve as the access road for this site.  This proposed tower would appear much less prominent to area viewers than proposed sites one and two.  Additionally, Harry Smith, Planning Director for the Town of Colchester indicated the Town's preference would be site number three.

Electromagnetic radio frequency power density levels are a concern of the Council.  However, the radio frequency power density levels 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 in the event 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 proposed number three 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, 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 number three Colchester site, and deny certification of the proposed number one and two Colchester sites.  The Council will order the construction of a 180-foot monopole at the proposed number three site, Lot 13 Middletown Road, Colchester, Connecticut.



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