CSC: Monroe Docket No. 210 Opinion

DOCKET NO. 210 - 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 1428 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe, Connecticut.








October 23, 2002


On August 23, 2001, James E. Dwyer Co., Inc., now known as Connecticut Architectural Towers, LLC (CAT)*, applied to the Connecticut Siting Council (Council) for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) to construct, operate, and maintain a wireless telecommunications facility at Marian Heights, 1428 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe, Connecticut. The Council accepted the application as complete on October 8, 2001. The property owners are the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. AT&T Wireless Services, Inc. (AT&T) intervened in the proceeding and expressed a willingness to share the proposed telecommunications facility. Sprint Spectrum, L.P. (Sprint) withdrew from intervenor status in a letter dated May 20, 2002. The Town of Monroe requested party status on July 26, 2002. The purpose of the proposed facility is to facilitate wireless telecommunications coverage to northeastern Monroe.

The public need for wireless 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 wireless telecommunications facilities in nearly all areas of the country. Connecticut State law directs the Council to balance the need for development of proposed wireless telecommunications facilities with the need to protect the environment, including public health and safety.

The Council voted to reopen this docket on May 21, 2002 for the limited purpose of accepting additional information for a revised tower location 170 feet to the southeast of the proposed site and to modify the height of the tower from a 195-foot monopole to a 160-foot monopole. The reopened hearing was held on May 30, 2002.

The Town of Monroe requested a reopening of this docket for the purpose of accepting additional evidence regarding the Town of Monroe’s support for a 160-foot monopole at the proposed site. The reopened hearing was held on August 15, 2002.

The site that was originally proposed was to be located 360 feet from the northern property boundary. The revised site would be located farther away from the northern property boundary within the same 141-acre property, known as Marian Heights Novitiate. Approximately 14 trees that are 6-inches or greater in diameter at breast height would have to be removed for the construction of the proposed site and access road, including two large oak trees that are in vicinity of the revised site and may cause a liability due to branches falling on the equipment. There are eight properties within a 1000-foot radius of the revised site; the nearest property line is approximately 510 feet to the north.

On January 25, 2001, the Town of Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission denied an application by CAT for the construction of a tower at the proposed site. The Planning and Zoning Commission stated that the applicant did not have solid commitments from carriers and therefore did not have the information that would be necessary to determine the need of this facility in this location.



Visibility of the proposed tower to the nearby residences is of concern given that the tower would be located within a residential zone. A 160-foot monopole tower at the revised proposed site would allow the applicant to accommodate multiple carriers while reducing visibility of the tower due to the reduced height and movement of the proposed tower location farther away from the residential neighborhood to the north. The revised tower location would be less visible to the nearest residence than the original proposed site because there are more trees in the sight line. The proposed site is in a location with continuous deciduous vegetation present along the surrounding roads, which may reduce the visibility of the facility to the surrounding properties and roadways.

Although the proposed site is in a residential location, the Council feels that a monopole tower would be superior to a stealth tower, such as a flagpole, because it would provide emergency and communications coverage. If the Town of Monroe were to place its antennas at the proposed site, such antennas would most likely be 15-foot whip antennas, located at the top of the 160-foot monopole structure. The Town of Monroe could not install antennas for emergency communications within a flagpole structure. A flagpole structure could only accommodate two to three carriers, which would most likely be PCS antennas because they are more easily reconfigured into a tapered arrangement than the wider cellular antennas. A monopole structure would allow antenna arrays that would provide greater radio frequency coverage than a stealth tower.

The Town of Monroe supports the construction of a 160-foot monopole structure at the proposed site because it would maximize the use of the tower while minimizing the number of telecommunications towers to be constructed in Monroe.

There are no known existing populations of federally recognized endangered or threatened species nor Connecticut species of special concern occurring at the revised site. Also, the development of this facility would have no effect on the State’s scenic, recreational, and historic values.

Electromagnetic radio frequency power density levels are a concern of the Council. The radio frequency power density levels calculated for AT&T at the 160-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 monople telecommunications facility at the revised proposed site at 1428 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe.


Content Last Modified on 10/25/2002 12:49:26 PM