CSC: DO 285 Opinion

DOCKET NO. 285 - Sprint Spectrum, L.P. application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance and operation of a wireless telecommunications facility at 33 Boardman Road, New Milford, Connecticut.







July 13, 2004




On February 4, 2004, Sprint Spectrum L. P. (Sprint) applied to the Connecticut Siting Council (Council) for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) to construct, operate, and maintain a 150-foot wireless telecommunications facility at 33 Boardman Road, New Milford, Connecticut. The purpose of the proposed facility is to provide wireless telecommunications service to Route 7 and local roads in northwestern New Milford. Nextel Communications Inc. (Nextel) participated as an intervenor in this proceeding to demonstrate their need for this facility.

The Council has carefully analyzed the record in this proceeding including an evaluation of existing telecommunications towers and alternative structures in the area and the proposed coverage objectives for each carrier. Existing structures in the area consist of church steeples, a water tank, and electric transmission structures. These structures were either located too far from the search area to provide adequate coverage or were in valley locations which limited the effective coverage area due to terrain blockage. Locating antennas on multiple existing structures would still not provide adequate coverage due to the numerous ridges and valleys in the target service area. Consequently, the Council finds a technical need for a new tower.

The Council further examined the appropriateness of the parcel to support telecommunications use. The site is on a 349-acre industrially zoned parcel used as a quarry. The tower site is 160 feet from the eastern edge of the property near the summit of a wooded north-south ridge. The adjacent property to the east is undeveloped. The tower site is remote from residential development with the nearest residence 0.4 miles to the northeast. Development of the site would not affect any wetlands nor require extensive clearing. An existing gravel road requiring minimal upgrades would provide access to the tower site. The tower site itself would require grading and the clearing of 1,800 square feet of woodlands. Overhead utilities would be installed along the existing access road.

After examining the coverage needs of Sprint and Nextel and propagation from various tower heights, the Council finds that a tower height of 150 feet is justified at the proposed site. The Council believes lowering the height of the tower would compromise the coverage needs of Sprint along Route 7 northwest of the site.

Tower visibility would be mostly from areas east of the site including residential areas to the northeast. No near range views of the tower would occur due to the site’s location on a ridgeline, surrounded by extensive woodlands. The nearest areas with views of the tower are approximately a half-mile from the site. The Town requested consideration of a stealth tree design in this location; however, the Council does not believe a stealth tree would be appropriate in this location since a majority of views would be of the tower with the sky as a backdrop. A stealth tree design would have a larger profile than a monopole and the existing treeline is at 65-75 feet above ground level. The Council believes a stealth tree tower would be more visible than a typical monopole in this location, but the Council encourages the Town and the Certificate Holder to discuss possible stealth options for this site.

Development of the site would not affect any wetlands or watercourses or any known rare, endangered, or special concern species. Site development would have no effect on archaeological or historic resources.

The radio frequency power density levels at the base of the proposed tower would be well below federal and state standards. 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, we find that the effects associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of a telecommunications facility at the proposed 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, we will issue a Certificate to Sprint Spectrum L.P. for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a 150-foot monopole telecommunications facility at the proposed site.

Content Last Modified on 7/15/2004 1:02:37 PM