CSC: DO 252 Guilford
Opinions

DOCKET NO. 252 - AT&T Wireless PCS, LLC d/b/a AT&T Wireless application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance and operation of a wireless telecommunications facility at one of two sites at 201 Granite Road, Guilford, Connecticut.

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Connecticut

Siting

Council

October 14, 2003

Opinion

On April 16, 2003, AT&T Wireless PCS, LLC d/b/a AT&T Wireless (AT&T) 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 one of two sites at 201 Granite Road in Guilford, Connecticut. Site A is located in the northeast section of the Gables property, which is owned by the Guilford Retirement Residence Limited Partnership. Site B is located in the southeast section of the Gables property. An adjacent property owner, the Guilford Land Conservation Trust, Inc. (GLCT), was a party in this proceeding. The purpose of the proposed facility is to provide wireless telecommunications service to western Guilford in the vicinity of Interstate 95.

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 cellular telecommunications facilities with the need to protect the environment, including public health and safety.

The Gables property consists of two parcels at 201 Granite Road in Guilford. Site A is located on the approximately 21-acre parcel of the Gables, and Site B is located on the approximately 58-acre parcel of the Gables. Site A consists of a 160-foot monopole within a Planned Residential District (PRD) zone. Removal of 12 trees with diameters of six inches or greater at breast height would be required to construct the proposed site and access road. There are two residences within 1,000 feet of Site A. The nearest residence to Site A is the Gables building located approximately 375 feet to the east. The nearest residence that is not located on the Gables property is approximately 550 feet to the north of the proposed site. Wetlands extend to approximately 30 feet to the south and southwest of the Site A leased area and a brook is located approximately 100 feet to the east. AT&T could move the facility compound approximately 30 feet farther away from the wetlands while remaining within the leased area.

Proposed Site B consists of a 140-foot monopole within a PRD zone. The minimum height AT&T needs to provide coverage from Site B is 100 feet above ground level (AGL). AT&T requested a 140-foot monopole to accommodate potential tower sharing. Removal of 38 trees with diameters of six inches or greater at breast height would be required to construct the proposed site and access road. There are two residences within 1,000 feet of Site B. The nearest residence is approximately 820 feet to the east.

Hiking trails managed by the GLCT are located near the proposed sites. The nearest hiking trail is the green trail portion of the West Woods Trail system in Guilford, which is located approximately 0.2 miles to the south of proposed Site A and approximately 0.11 miles south of proposed Site B.

The visibility of the 160-foot proposed Site A tower is expected to impact approximately one-eighth of a mile to the north and south, mostly within the Gables property. The visibility of the 140-foot proposed Site B tower is expected to impact approximately one-half of a mile to the northwest and west, within the Gables property, along Granite Road to the south of I-95, and on the I-95 overpass directly above Granite Road. The predicted visibility of a 100-foot monopole at proposed Site B would be less than a 140-foot tower. Neither of the proposed towers would be visible from the nearby hiking trails.

The proposed access to Site A uses the existing Gables driveway for approximately 900 feet, then a new 12-foot wide gravel access drive would be constructed from the edge of the paved driveway to the site for an additional 50 feet. Telephone and electrical utilities would be installed underground from an adjacent utility pole along the proposed access road to the proposed Site A compound. The proposed access to Site B uses the existing Gables driveway for approximately 2,700 feet, then a new 12-foot gravel access drive would be constructed from the edge of the paved driveway for 300 feet to the Site B compound. Telephone and electrical utilities would be installed underground from an adjacent utility pole on the Gables property along the proposed access road to the Site B compound.

Development of either of the proposed sites would not affect historic, architectural or archeological resources listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

After considering both proposed sites, the Council finds Site B preferable. Site B is farther from residences and therefore would have less of a visual impact on the Gables property and surrounding areas that may have a view of the tower. Furthermore, Site B is farther from wetlands and, because of its higher ground elevation, requires a shorter tower than Site A. The Council will require that a 100-foot monopole be constructed at Site B with a base sufficient to accommodate up to a 140-foot tower for potential future carriers.

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, the Council finds that the effects associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the telecommunications facility at proposed Site B, 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, the Council will issue a Certificate for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a 100-foot telecommunications facility at Site B located at 201 Granite Road in Guilford, Connecticut and deny certification of Site A.

 

 



Content Last Modified on 10/23/2003 8:09:56 AM