CSC: Docket 267 Opinion
Opinions

DOCKET NO. 267 - Cordless Data Transfer, Inc. 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 Turnpike Road, Map 45-Lot 4, Willington, Connecticut.

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Connecticut

 

Siting

 

Council

 

February 3, 2004

 

 

Opinion

 

 

On September 5, 2003, Cordless Data Transfer, Inc. 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 the Barber Property, Turnpike Road, Map 45-Lot 4, Willington, Connecticut.  Cordless Data Transfer (CDT) provides wireless infrastructure and facilities to wireless providers.  The proposed facility would provide service to existing coverage gaps along Interstate 84 (I-84), as identified by AT&T Wireless PCS, LLC (AT&T). 

 

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.

 

CDT presented two sites for consideration, referred to as the prime and alternate sites, both of which are on an undeveloped 18-acre parcel.  The wooded parcel, zoned industrial, abuts Turnpike Road to the south and I-84 to the north.  Undeveloped industrial and commercially zoned property abuts the parcel to the east, west and south.  The prime site is located in a wooded area on the southeastern portion of the parcel, between two wetlands connected by an intermittent watercourse.  A portion of the watercourse is located in the footprint of the compound and would require re-channeling to accommodate site construction.  The alternate site is located approximately 230 feet northwest of the prime site.  The alternate site access road would cross the intermittent watercourse via a 15-inch diameter concrete pipe.  Development of either site would not affect any rare, endangered, or special concern species. 

 

At either site, CDT proposes to construct a 180-foot self supporting lattice tower designed to support four antenna platforms.  AT&T intends to locate at the 170-foot level of the facility.  Although no other carriers have signed leases to locate at the facility, T-Mobile and Cingular have expressed interest in the site.  The Town has requested space on the tower for future use.  CDT intends to accommodate the Town’s request with lease-free space.  

 

AT&T seeks to provide service to an approximate 2.5 mile gap on I-84 between existing sites in Willington and Stafford.  Placing antennas at the 170-foot level of the tower would provide coverage to most of the gap area; however, an approximate 0.5 mile coverage gap would remain to the southwest.  AT&T may be able to serve this area through site optimization but would install a microcell if service remains inadequate.  Placing antennas at a higher location at either proposed site would not provide coverage to the remaining gap area.  A lower antenna height at the either proposed site would reduce the potential for site optimization resulting in a definite need for a mircocell to the southwest. 

 

The primary visual impact of the proposed towers is from I-84 and the associated Interchange 71 area.  Although the sites are remote from densely populated areas, two residential properties and one commercial property would have year-round views of both towers.  The prime site tower would be visible from 271 acres whereas the alternate site tower would be visible from 288 acres.  Mature hardwoods and some evergreens on the property screen both sites in all directions.    

 

The Town provided written comment to the Council requesting a site on the parcel that would minimize impacts to the intermittent watercourse and would be least visually obtrusive to motorists in the I-84 Interchange 71 area, a major gateway to the Town. 

 

After considering both proposed sites, the Council finds the prime site preferable.  The prime site is closer to Turnpike Road and would require less clearing and site disturbance to develop.  To avoid impacts to the intermittent watercourse on the property, the Council will order the relocation of the site approximately 25 feet to the southeast.  Site construction must avoid disturbance to the intermittent watercourse.

 

Although the applicant has requested a 180-foot self supporting lattice tower at the site, the Council believes a monopole design would be less visually obtrusive.  In addition, the Council did not find an established need for a 180-foot tower.  Therefore, the Council will order construction of a monopole no higher than 170 feet above ground level. 

 

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 the prime 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, the Council will issue a Certificate for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a 170-foot monopole telecommunications facility at the prime site, Turnpike Road, Map 45-Lot 4, Willington, Connecticut, and deny the certification of the proposed alternate site.     



Content Last Modified on 2/10/2004 3:17:52 PM