CSC: DO 270 Norwich Opinion
Opinions

DOCKET NO. 270 - New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC 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 locations at 202 North Wawecus Hill Road, Norwich, Connecticut.

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Connecticut

 

Siting

 

Council

 

April 15, 2004

 

 

Opinion

 

 

On September 24, 2003, AT&T Wireless PCS LLC d/b/a AT&T Wireless (AT&T Wireless) 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 140-foot wireless telecommunications facility at one of two locations at 202 North Wawecus Hill Road, Norwich, Connecticut.  The purpose of the proposed facility is to provide wireless telecommunications service to Interstate 395 (I-395) and surrounding roads in northwest Norwich.    

 

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 Council has carefully analyzed the record in this proceeding including an evaluation of proposed coverage objectives, existing facilities in the area, and alternative properties and structures.  AT&T Wireless seeks to provide coverage to I-395 between Route 2 and Route 82, an area where I-395 travels between a series of ridges.  The nearest existing tower is approximately 0.75 miles west of the proposed sites on Rogers Road.  Propagation modeling indicates this facility is too far west to provide coverage to the target service area; a ridge (Wawecus Hill) effectively blocks coverage to I-395.  Connecticut Light and Power Company transmission poles north and south of the search area are of insufficient height and too far north or south to provide adequate coverage to the target service area. 

 

AT&Tís search area consisted of residentially zoned raw land sites west of I-395.  Commercially zoned parcels in the Route 82 area are too far south and too low in ground elevation to provide adequate coverage to the target service area.  Raw land sites east of I-395 were rejected due to low elevation and proximity to residential subdivisions. 

 

Based on the lack of existing structures in the area and an approximate 2.7 mile gap in existing coverage, the Council finds a technical need for a new tower.  The Council further examined the coverage needs of AT&T Wireless at various antenna heights to determine the proper height of a facility at the proposed sites.  The Council believes lowering the height of either tower below the requested 140-foot height would compromise the coverage needs of AT&T Wireless since a coverage gap would occur on I-395 immediate south of Route 2.  A 140-foot tower height would provided adequate coverage to this area and would eliminate the need for a micro cell facility. 

 

 

The two sites presented to the Council for consideration, referred to as Site A and Site B, are located on a 40-acre agriculturally developed parcel west of I-395 and east of North Wawecus Hill Road.  Surrounding land uses are primarily residential and agricultural.  Residentially developed parcels exist north, south, and west of the sites.  The nearest property boundary to site A is approximately 195 feet to the north.  The nearest abutting property to Site B is approximately 400 feet to the southeast. 

 

The visual impact of the sites is similar with both towers being visible from approximately twelve residences on North Wawecus Hill Road and three residences on Rogers Road.  Mature hardwoods and some evergreens in the vicinity of the sites provide screening of lower portions of the tower north and south of the sites.  The upper portions on the towers would be visible from portions of area roads and select residential properties on North Wawecus Hill Road and Rogers Road.  The Council finds that Site B would be less visible than Site A in the immediate vicinity of the sites.  

 

Development of either site would not affect any wetlands or watercourses or any rare, endangered, or special concern species.  The proposed facilities would have no effect on archaeological resources or registered historic districts.  Development of either site would require the removal of approximately 40 trees with a diameter of six inches at breast height. 

 

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 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 140-foot monopole telecommunications facility at Site B, 202 North Wawecus Hill Road, Norwich, Connecticut, and deny the certification of proposed Site A.     



Content Last Modified on 6/14/2005 9:35:08 AM