CSC: DO 275 Windham Opinion

DOCKET NO. 275 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 10 North Ridge Road, Windham, Connecticut







April 26, 2004




On October 30, 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 wireless telecommunications facility at 10 North Ridge Road, Willimantic, Connecticut. The purpose of the proposed facility is to provide wireless telecommunications service to Routes 6 and 203 in the northern portion of Windham.

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.

AT&T proposed two tower alternatives in the same location on a 23-acre parcel developed with a Wal-Mart store. The tower site is located in a developed commercial area approximately 0.5 miles southeast of the Willimantic Airport. Tower Alternative 1 consists of a 107-foot monopole that would require Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) marking and lighting. The overall height of the tower with lighting would be 109 feet. Tower Alternative 2 consists of an 87-foot monopole that would not require FAA marking or lighting. Omnipoint Communications, Inc. (T-Mobile) intends to locate at the site and finds coverage from either tower alternative acceptable.

Based on the lack of existing structures and suitable land for tower development in the area and the fact the proposed site is in an area of commercial development, the Council finds the site location acceptable. Near range visibility of the either tower alternative would be confined to the immediate commercial area and to five to eight residences on Crystal Drive, approximately 0.2 miles southwest of the site.

The Council believes an FAA marked and lighted 107-foot monopole would not be out of character with the surrounding commercial area given its close proximity to the airport. When viewed from a distance, the red steady light on the tower would blend in with other lighted structures in the area including an existing airport beacon, commercial buildings, and pole mounted street lights and parking lot lights.

The Council examined the coverage needs of AT&T Wireless and compared the coverage provided by the two proposed tower configurations. The Council believes the Alternative 2 tower at 87 feet above ground level would not provide reliable service to portions of Route 6 north of the site. Unreliable service in this area could result in AT&T requiring a second site to complete coverage. The Alternative 1 tower at 107 feet above ground level would be able to provide acceptable coverage to the Route 6 corridor and would hand off to the adjacent site to the north located at 106 Phoenixville Road in Chaplin. Therefore, the Council will order the construction of the Alternative 1 tower.

The site is located in a cleared grassy area between areas of commercial development. Because the site is within the range of several state endangered or special concern bird species, the Council will order construction activity be limited to mid-August to mid-May to reduce the potential for bird strikes and nesting disturbance.

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 Alternative 1 telecommunications facility, 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 107-foot monopole telecommunications facility at 10 North Ridge Road, Windham, Connecticut.

Content Last Modified on 5/3/2004 7:55:34 AM