CSC: DO 278 - Spectrasite Westport Opinion

DOCKET NO. 278 – SpectraSite Communications, Inc. application for an amendment to an existing Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance and operation of a telecommunications facility in Westport, Connecticut.








May 19, 2004


On November 26, 2003, SpectraSite Communications, Inc. (SpectraSite) applied to the Connecticut Siting Council (Council) to amend a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) originally issued on September 14, 1984 under Docket No. 45 that authorized the construction, operation, and maintenance of a telecommunications facility located at 180-182 Bayberry Lane in Westport, Connecticut. In its application, SpectraSite proposed installing a new 140-foot monopole telecommunications tower to replace the existing 100-foot tower authorized under the Certificate issued under Docket No. 45. The new tower would be located approximately 35 feet from the existing tower within the existing equipment compound .

The purpose for replacing the existing tower with a higher one is to enable carriers on the existing tower to move to a higher location, thereby improving their coverage, and to provide space for other carriers to add antennas and fill existing coverage gaps in their networks. Sprint and several public agencies, including the Town of Westport’s Fire and Police Departments, the FBI, and a high school radio station, would move to higher locations on the new tower. Nextel, AT&T Wireless, and T-Mobile would add antennas to the proposed higher tower. Cingular and Verizon would retain antennas on the new tower at the approximate heights at which they have antennas on the existing tower. A new tower is required because the existing tower is not structurally capable of being reinforced to accommodate the increased height needed and the additional loading of the new antennas.

The existing facility is on a 7.9 acre parcel of land owned by the Town of Westport and used for various municipal purposes, including the Westport-Weston Health District, the Rolnick Observatory, the Westport Yard Waste Facility, and the Town’s records storage building. The town property is adjacent to the Merritt Parkway, a heavily traveled limited access highway. The existing equipment compound is 5,625 square feet in area. SpectraSite would slightly reconfigure the compound and expand it to 6,108 square feet to accommodate the equipment of the additional carriers. The expanded compound would be partially screened with plantings of white pines and a wooden stockade fence.

The visibility of the higher tower would be limited by the presence of mature trees in the surrounding area. No federally listed or proposed endangered or threatened species occur near the proposed facility with the exception of occasional transient bald eagles. The planned modifications would have no effect on historic, architectural, or archaeological resources listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places nor would they have any effect on properties of traditional cultural importance to Connecticut’s Native American community.

The radio frequency power density levels at the base of the proposed tower would be below federal and State standards for the frequencies used by wireless companies. If federal or state standards change, the Council will require that the tower be brought into compliance with such standards. The Council will require that the power densities be remodeled in the event other carriers add antennas to the tower.

Based on the record of this proceeding, the Council finds that the SpectraSite proposal provides a good solution to an existing problem. Commercial carriers as well as public service agencies will be able to provide better coverage as a result of a higher tower, and there will be minimal visual or other impacts in this densely settled area.

For these reasons the Council finds that the effects associated with amending the existing Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need originally issued under Docket 45 to allow the replacement of the existing 100-foot tower with a new 140-foot monopole tower and alterations to the existing equipment compound 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 an amended Certificate for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a 140-foot monopole at 180-182 Bayberry Lane in Westport, Connecticut.



Content Last Modified on 5/20/2004 10:24:30 AM