CSC: DO 287 Norfolk Opinion
Opinions

DOCKET NO. 287 – Sprint Spectrum, L.P. d/b/a Sprint PCS application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance and operation of a wireless telecommunications facility at 10 Ashpohtag Road, Norfolk, Connecticut.

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Connecticut

Siting

Council

July 13, 2004

Opinion

On February 13, 2004, Sprint Spectrum, L.P. d/b/a Sprint PCS (Sprint) applied to the Connecticut Siting Council (Council) for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) for the construction, maintenance and operation of a wireless telecommunications facility to be located at 10 Ashpohtag Road in the Town of Norfolk, Connecticut. Sprint is proposing to develop its facility on a 13.1 acre property owned by Louis Cammilletti and located in a Rural Residence zone.

The facility would allow Sprint to address a significant coverage gap on Route 44 and the surrounding areas. Sprint’s existing signal strength in the vicinity of the proposed site varies between -90 dBm to below the noise threshold. Sprint considers its minimum acceptable signal strength to be -94 dBm in the vicinity of the proposed site, a level also required to provide reliable in-vehicle coverage. With the proposed facility, Sprint’s signal strength in the vicinity of the proposed site would be greater than -84 dBm and coverage would be provided along Route 44 for 2.6 miles. The total area covered by the proposed facility would be 2.55 square miles.

Sprint’s facility would consist of a 150-foot tall monopole tower, designed to accommodate a total of three carriers. On this tower, Sprint would install four panel antennas in a three-sector configuration for a total of 12 and the antennas would be centered at 147.5-foot level of the tower. The antennas would be attached to a low profile triangular platform with standard antenna pipe mounts and would not extend above the top of the tower.

The facility compound would be 50-foot by 50-foot and located within a 100-foot by 70-foot lease area. The compound would be enclosed by an 8-foot tall chain link fence without barbed wire. Within the compound would be a 9.5-foot by 18-foot concrete equipment pad on which the power, battery, radio and growth cabinets would be placed. The compound could accommodate four carriers. Also, 16 evergreen trees would be planted adjacent to the compound.

The access road to the compound would emanate from Ashpohtag Road and would follow an existing gravel driveway for approximately 1,080 feet. From there, Sprint would construct 200 feet of new gravel road to reach the compound. Utility service would be provided from a proposed replacement pole on Ashpohtag Road and continue underground along the existing driveway to the compound. No trees with a diameter at breast height of greater than six inches would be removed in the development of the access road and compound.

No additional carriers or the Town of Norfolk (Town) have expressed an interest in collocating at the proposed site. However, if requested, Sprint would permit the Town to locate its antennas on the tower without charge for the tower space.

The proposed facility site is located outside of the 100-year flood hazard area. No wetlands or watercourses were identified or delineated within the development areas. The closest wetland to the proposed site is located approximately 400 feet to the south. However, to the south of the site, the grade drops steeply to Route 44. Thus, proper sedimentation and erosion controls would have to be installed at the site to prevent loss of material down the slope towards Route 44.

The development of the proposed facility would have no effect on historic, architectural, or archaeological resources listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The proposed facility would also have no effect upon properties of traditional cultural importance to Connecticut’s Native American communities.

Although there are no threatened, endangered or species of special concern located on the subject property, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) records indicate that the Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) occurs in the vicinity of the proposed site. VHB, Inc. (VHB) conducted a wildlife survey and determined that the Cooper’s Hawk is not located on the subject property. VHB was coordinating with DEP to seek concurrence with their findings. A final determination from DEP was not received by the Council. However, DEP comments note that this issue could be rendered moot by performing the construction outside of the February to July nesting season of the Cooper’s Hawk. Sprint has indicated that it is possible to avoid construction during this time of the year.

The tower would be visible intermittently for a distance of just under one mile on Route 44. This would include a section with year round visibility approximately 0.6 miles long. Route 44 is not a State-designated scenic roadway in the vicinity of the proposed site. Seven homes would have year round views of the tower and three would have seasonal views. The tower would not be visible from any nearby hiking trails. The tower is also not expected to be visible from the Bartlell House, the top of the pavilion at Dennis Hill State Park, or from Haystack Mountain.

Site plans indicate that the tower setback radius would extend beyond the boundaries of the Cammilletti property and onto an adjacent property. To address this concern, Sprint could have the monopole designed with a pre-engineered fault to effectively reduce the setback radius.

The radio frequency power density levels at the base of the proposed tower would 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 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 concludes that the proposed facility would be well sited to provide coverage to a significant portion of Route 44 while keeping the visual and other environmental impacts to a minimum.

Therefore, the Council finds that the effects associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed 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 150-foot monopole tower and associated ground equipment at 10 Ashpohtag Road, Norfolk, Connecticut.



Content Last Modified on 7/16/2004 2:04:53 PM