CSC: DO 281 Opinion Plainville
Opinions

DOCKET NO. 281 – New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance and operation of a telecommunications facility at 355 South Washington Street, Plainville, Connecticut.

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Connecticut

Siting

Council

June 23, 2004

Opinion

On December 19, 2003, AT&T Wireless PCS LLC d/b/a 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 120-foot wireless telecommunications facility off of Town Line Road in Plainville, referred to as Site A, or at 355 South Washington Street in Plainville, referred to as Site B. Due to the densely populated nature of the area and the presence of several major highways, two additional carriers, Omnipoint Communications Inc. d/b/a T-Mobile, and Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless participated as intervenors in the proceeding to demonstrate need for this facility.

The Council has carefully analyzed the record in this proceeding including an evaluation of proposed coverage objectives for each interested carrier, existing facilities in the area, and alternative properties and structures. AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile, and Verizon seek to provide coverage to Interstate 84, Route 10, Route 177, Route 372 and local roads in the Plainville-Southington area. Prior to the filing of the application AT&T Wireless examined existing structures in the area including a 120-foot water tank in the Southington Business park and two 90-foot water tanks on Redstone Hill in Southington. Both of these locations were too far south to provide reliable coverage to the target service area. After rejecting these structures, AT&T investigated several industrially zoned parcels and selected the proposed sites.

Based on the lack of suitable existing structures and gaps in existing coverage for three communication carriers, the Council finds a technical need for a new tower. The Council believes a 120-foot tower at either site would provide the necessary coverage for AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile, and Verizon, and would allow further co-location opportunities for future carriers without the need for additional towers in the area. AT&T Wireless would provide space on the tower for no compensation for any municipal public safety communication antennas, provided such antennas are compatible with the structural integrity of the tower.

Both proposed sites are zoned industrial and are located in an area with a mix of industrial, commercial, retail, and residential development. Site A is located on a 36-acre parcel being cleared for industrial development as part of the Town’s Enterprise Zone. Abutting property is zoned Single Family Residential and Restricted Industrial. There are 22 residences within 1,000 feet of Site A, primarily to the west. Site B is on an 8-acre parcel developed with a commercial building. Property abutting the site is zoned General Industrial and Restricted Industrial. There are 8 residences located within 1,000 feet of the site, all of which are a non-conforming use within an industrial zone.

After reviewing the visibility impacts of both towers, the Council believes Site A would be more visible than Site B. Site A is visible from 228 acres in the vicinity of the site whereas Site B would be visible from 178 acres. Site A would also be more visible than Site B from developed residential areas south and west 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 or historic resources. Both sites are located in cleared areas and would require the removal of mainly shrubby vegetation.

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.

After considering the two proposed sites, the Council finds Site B preferable. Site B is located farther from residences than Site A, would have less of a visual impact on the surrounding area, and conforms to the industrial nature of the area by abutting only industrially zoned property. The Council will order the construction of a 120-foot monopole at Site B.

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 120-foot monopole telecommunications facility at Site B, 355 South Washington Street, Plainville, Connecticut, and deny the certification of proposed Site A.



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