CSC: DO 264 Opinion
Opinions

DOCKET NO. 264 - Tower Ventures II, LLC application for a Certificate of  Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance and operation of a wireless telecommunications facility at either 146 Brown Road or Brown Road (Lot 34) Brooklyn, Connecticut.

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Connecticut

 

Siting

 

Council

 

January 12, 2004

 

 

Opinion

 

 

On July 11, 2003, Tower Ventures II, LLC 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 either 146 Brown Road, Brooklyn, identified as Site A-1, or Brown Road, Lot 34, Brooklyn, identified as Site A-2.  The purpose of the proposed facility is to provide wireless telecommunications service to Route 6 in Brooklyn. 

 

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.

 

Both sites are in open areas on property used as a tree farm.  Site A-1 is on a level knoll above Brown Road in the southern portion of an extensive area of the tree farm.  Hardwood screening exists 250 feet to the south along the tree farm property line.  Little vegetative screening exists to the north, east, and west.  Site A-2 is down-gradient of Brown Road and is 90 feet lower in elevation than Site A-1.  Site A-2 is in a sharply sloping open area used as part of the same tree farm.  The amount of grading can be reduced by moving the compound area approximately 75 feet to the south.  Mature hardwoods and some evergreens at the edge of the tree farm provide screening in all directions.  Development of either site would not affect any wetlands or watercourses or any rare, endangered, or special concern species.  The Town’s Conservation Commission prefers Site A-2, stating the site is more consistent with the objectives presented in the Town’s Open Space and Conservation Plan. 

 

At either site, Tower Ventures proposes to construct a 150-foot monopole designed to support six levels of antennas.  AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile intend to locate at the facility. In addition, Quinebaug Valley Emergency Communications, Inc., an emergency dispatch center servicing 15 towns in the region, expressed interest in placing a whip antenna at the top to the tower.  Tower Ventures intends to accommodate their request with lease-free space.  

 

T-Mobile’s coverage objectives can be met with antennas mounted at 100 feet above ground level (agl) at either site.  AT&T’s coverage objectives can be met with antennas mounted at 127 feet agl at Site A-1.  Installing antennas at the 147-foot level of Site A-2 would provide AT&T with marginal coverage to the target service area, with an approximate three-quarter of a mile coverage gap remaining after installation.  AT&T would most likely need a microcell site west Site A-2 to provide coverage to this area. 

 

 

The visibility analysis indicates that although visibility from area roads is similar, Site A-2 would affect more residences overall, fifteen, than site A-1, seven; however, the Council believes Site A-2 is sufficiently obscured from the affected residences by existing bands of mature vegetation surrounding the site.  In addition, Site A-2 is 90 feet lower in elevation than Site A-1, which allows Site A-2 to blend into the surroundings more than Site A-1.  A majority of the views associated with Site A-2 would have vegetation as a backdrop whereas a majority of the views associated with Site A-1 would have the sky as a backdrop.  The Town’s Planning and Zoning Commission also reviewed the visual impacts of both sites and prefers Site A-2.  

 

After considering both proposed sites, the Council finds Site A-2 preferable.  The site is lower in elevation which will reduce visual impacts from nearby areas, offers a greater amount of visual screening to nearby residences and is preferred by the Town’s Planning and Zoning Commission as well as the Conservation Commission.  To reduce the amount of grading required at the site, the Council will order the relocation of the compound approximately 75 feet to the south to an area with a moderate slope. 

 

The Council believes the Site A-2 tower is of sufficient height for AT&T to provide coverage to the area by the fact that AT&T intervened in this proceeding and is willing to locate at the 147-foot level of the tower. 

 

Radio frequency power density levels at the base of the proposed tower will 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 proposed telecommunications facility at Site A-2, 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 150-foot monopole telecommunications facility at Brown Road, Lot 34, Brooklyn, Connecticut, and deny the certification of proposed Site A- 1 located at 146 Brown Road, Brooklyn, Connecticut.    



Content Last Modified on 1/15/2004 8:16:58 AM