CSC: East Hartford Docket No. 228 Opinion
Decisions

DOCKET NO. 228 – The Marcus Group, LLC application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance and operation of a cellular telecommunications facility at 148 Roberts Street, East Hartford, Connecticut.

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Connecticut

Siting

Council

November 7, 2002

Opinion

On May 20, 2002, The Marcus Group (Marcus) 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 located at 148 Roberts Street in East Hartford, Connecticut. Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless (Cellco) became an intervenor to this application.

The primary purpose of the facility is to provide wireless telecommunications coverage to Interstate 84 and the Roberts Street area of East Hartford. Three carriers, Cellco, AT&T Wireless and Nextel Communications of the Mid-Atlantic, have committed to locating at the proposed facility. Existing telecommunication towers and electric transmission structures in the vicinity of the proposed site were examined and rejected due to inferior wireless coverage to the targeted service area.

The proposed facility consists of a 120-foot monopole and an associated equipment compound to be constructed at one of two sites in a wooded area at the rear of the East Hartford Elks Lodge. The prime and alternate tower sites are separated by approximately 75 feet with the prime site providing a greater setback to adjacent property to the west. Although the prime and alternate sites are within a town designated wetland buffer area, the town’s Inland Wetlands Commission approved the location of both sites. The town’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved the prime site location.

During the town review process, the town requested a paved access road to the compound area, which would necessitate a drainage system including an underground detention basin. Although the Council is sensitive to the needs of the town, the Council believes a gravel-surfaced road is sufficient to provide access to the site. In addition, natural drainage of stormwater would be attained by allowing water to percolate directly into the soil and naturally discharge to a wetland north of the site. The Council also believes construction of a drainage system could damage the root systems of nearby trees that provide screening of the facility from adjacent properties.

Although four residences are located within a 1,000 feet of the proposed sites, the immediate area is characterized by commercial uses and the site parcel is zoned industrial, uses compatible with a telecommunications facility. The greatest visual impact from the facility would be primarily from area roads including Interstate 84 and Roberts Street. The Council believes a flagpole facility at this location would not be beneficial due to the commercial nature of the area and possible reduction of service that results with a flagpole design.

Both of the sites are located in a town designated wetland buffer zone dominated by an oak, aspen, and hickory woodland. Development of the proposed prime site would require clearing of approximately 15 to 20 trees of 8 to 20 inches in diameter at breast height (dbh). Development of the alternate site would require the removal of 10 to 15 trees of 8 to 20 inches dbh. The terrain in the development area slopes towards a wetland that is 42-44 feet from the proposed sites. The Council believes that moving the facility compound ten feet to the south would provide a greater buffer to the wetland area, reduce potential site erosion, and preserve a few of the trees marked for clearing.

The proposed site does not contain known extant populations of Federal or State Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern Species; nor would the proposed construction affect the state’s 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 site.

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 facility be brought into compliance with such standards. The Council will require that the power densities be remodeled in the event other carriers locate at this facility.

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 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 120-foot monopole telecommunications facility at the proposed prime site.



Content Last Modified on 11/18/2002 10:04:12 AM