CSC: DO 290 - Opinion - Madison
Opinions

DOCKET NO. 290 – 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 one of two locations on Durham Road (Route 79), Madison, Connecticut.

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Connecticut

Siting

Council

August 18, 2004

 

Opinion

 

On March 29, 2004, 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 wireless telecommunications facility at the Ruge property, 1749 Durham Road, referred to as Site A, or at the Elka Perez Trust property also on Durham Road, referred to as Site B. The purpose of the proposed facility is to provide wireless telecommunications service to Route 79 in the Rockland area of Madison.

Proposed Site A consists of a 120-foot monopole facility on a 32-acre parcel on the west side of Route 79. The parcel in mostly wooded and contains an abandoned farmhouse adjacent to Route 79. Access to the tower site would be from a gravel drive of new construction extending from Route 79 south of the farmhouse. The current access offers poor sightlines along Route 79. The DEP recommended that the access drive to Site A be relocated north of the farmhouse, originating from Route 79 at the crest of a hill. The relocation would offer unobstructed sightlines along Route 79 and would necessitate a shorter access road to the site. Three residences, including the abandoned farmhouse, are within 1,000 feet of the site. The nearest wetland is 170 feet southwest of the site.

Proposed Site B consists of a 130-foot monopole facility on an 18-acre parcel west of Route 79. The wooded parcel is undeveloped. The tower site would be accessed by a 225-foot long gravel drive extending from Route 79. Two occupied residences are within 1,000 feet of the site. The nearest wetland is 35 feet east of the site.

Visibility of the sites from surrounding areas is limited to Route 79 adjacent to the sites. The area around the sites is heavily wooded, comprised of large holdings of protected watershed land. Little residential development is present in the area. Neither site would be visible from the Wilkes property, an abutting residential property south of Site A.

The Council has carefully analyzed propagation models prepared for the proposed sites including an analysis of coverage from adjacent sites. The proposed sites are designed to provide handoff capability to an adjacent AT&T facility to the south at the North Madison Volunteer Fire Department and a proposed Town owned site to the north. No existing structures are at a height sufficient to provide coverage to the target service area. Consequently, based on a detailed analysis of propagation and signal strength, the Council finds a technical need for a new tower.

For AT&T Wireless, both sites as proposed offer comparable coverage to the target service area and would provide sufficient handoff capability to the site to the south. Sprint has not indicated a specific antenna height at either location although coverage modeling indicates a tower height of 140 feet may be required. Sprint would perform coverage modeling prior to committing to a specific height. If Sprint determines a need for a tower height greater than the heights proposed in this application, Sprint would petition the Council for a tower extension.

After reviewing the record in this proceeding, we find Site A preferable. The site is more remote from wetland areas than Site B and is preferred by the Town. The Council therefore will approve the Site A facility with a maximum tower height of 120 feet above ground level. In addition, the Council will order the installation of a foundation sufficient to accommodate a tower extension to a height of 150 feet to accommodate future tower sharing, if necessary. The Council concurs with the DEP’s recommendation of relocating the access road north of the farmhouse. The Council will order the relocation of the access road, contingent upon the applicant obtaining the necessary permits from the DOT.

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 conform to 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 telecommunications facility at proposed Site A, 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 A, 1749 Durham Road, Madison, Connecticut, and deny the certification of Site B.



Content Last Modified on 8/31/2004 4:09:46 PM