CSC: DO 262 Orange Opinion
Opinions

DOCKET NO. 262 - 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 707 Cranberry Lane or off of Grassy Hill Road, Orange, Connecticut.

 

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Connecticut

 

Siting

 

Council

 

January 12, 2004

 

 

Opinion

 

On June 16, 2003, 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 in Orange, Connecticut.  Proposed Site A is located at 707 Cranberry Lane on an approximately 1.5 acre parcel owned by Frank Woodruff Rogers.  Proposed Site B and Site C are located off of Grassy Hill Road on an approximately 20 acre parcel owned by Julia Rogers Schen, Ellen Rogers Saylor, and Harriet Rogers Wood.  AT&T Wireless PCS, LLC d/b/a AT&T Wireless (AT&T) and Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless (Verizon) intervened in the proceeding and expressed a willingness to share any of the proposed telecommunications facilities.  The purpose of the proposed facility is to provide wireless telecommunications service along Route 15, and Route 121.    

 

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.

 

On March 4, 2003, Sprint filed notification of the proposed project to the Town of Orange for proposed Site A and Site B.  In response, the Town of Orange recommended that Sprint propose a site in the northwest corner of the property off of Grassy Hill Road, close to Route 15 and with the nearest residential property greater than 500 feet away.  The Town-recommended tower location is referred to as Site C.    

 

The proposed sites are located within a residential zone (R-1).  Sprint proposes to construct a 125-foot monopole at the proposed sites.  AT&T has requested that the height of the proposed structure be extended to 140 feet above ground level (AGL) to allow AT&T to provide adequate coverage to the area.  AT&T published a legal notice of the request for a 140-foot monopole at the proposed sites and sent notification of the request to all adjacent landowners. 

  

The removal of nine trees that are six inches or greater in diameter at breast height (dbh) at proposed Site A, one tree six inches or greater dbh at proposed Site B, and no trees with diameters of six inches or greater dbh at proposed Site C would be required for the construction of the various proposed compounds and access roads.  There are five residences within a 1,000-foot radius of proposed Site A, the nearest of which is located 282 feet to the north.  There are three residences within a 1,000-foot radius of proposed Site B, the nearest of which is located 424 feet to the southwest.  There is one residence within a 1,000-foot radius of proposed Site C, which is located 600 feet to the northwest.  The nearest wetland to proposed Site A is located 230 feet to the south of the compound.  At proposed Site B and Site C, two wetlands were identified immediately adjacent to the north and south sides of the access drive, which are associated with the floodplain of the Wepawaug River.  Wetland 1 is a large floodplain system, and Wetland 2 was disconnected from the main wetland system by the existing dirt road.  Wetland 1 is approximately 21 acres and is located approximately 25 feet to the east of the proposed Site B compound.  Wetland 2 is approximately 0.35 acres and is located approximately 2 feet to the east of proposed Site C.  Soil and erosion control measures would be used during construction of the proposed facility.   

 

A 125-foot structure at proposed Site A would be visible from approximately 30 acres year round.  Proposed Site B would be visible from approximately 23 acres year round.  Proposed Site C would be visible from approximately 16 acres year round.  A 140-foot structure at proposed Site A would be visible from approximately 32 acres year round, and an additional approximately 18 acres seasonally.  Proposed Site B would be visible from approximately 29 acres year round, and an additional approximately 19 acres seasonally.  Proposed Site C would be visible from approximately 16 acres year round and an additional approximately 26 acres seasonally.  Three homes would have seasonal visibility of the proposed Site A tower.  Three homes to the south of proposed Site B would have a seasonal view of the proposed tower.  One home would have a seasonal view of the proposed Site C tower.     

 

The proposed access to Site A would use an abandoned road extending from Cranberry Road for 480 feet, then continuing to the site for an additional 100 feet.  Telephone and electrical utilities would be installed underground from an adjacent utility pole at the corner of Cranberry Lane and Turkey Hill Road to the proposed Site A compound.  The proposed access to Site B would be an existing access road extending from Grassy Hill Road for approximately 1,015 feet.  Telephone and electrical utilities would run from a nearby utility pole above ground across four poles, until after an existing culvert, and then underground to the Site B compound.  The proposed access to Site C would be an existing access road extending from Grassy Hill Road for approximately 450 feet.  The Council will require that telephone and electrical utilities run underground along the access road to the proposed Site C compound.   

 

Development of proposed Site A, Site B, or Site C at 125 feet or 140 feet would not affect historic, architectural or archeological resources listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

 

After considering the three proposed sites, the Council finds Site C preferable.  Site C is located farther from residences than Site A or Site B, and therefore would have less of a visual impact on the surrounding area.  The Council will require that a 140-foot monopole be constructed at Site C to facilitate tower sharing and accommodate AT&T antennas at the minimum acceptable height.    

 

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 C, 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 140-foot monopole with T-bar antenna platforms or flush mounted antennas at Site C located off of Grassy Hill Road in Orange, Connecticut and deny certification of Site A and Site B.

 



Content Last Modified on 1/15/2004 8:03:02 AM