CSC: DO 293 Opinion
Opinions

DOCKET NO. 293 – Omnipoint Communications, Inc. 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 off of Route 162, West Haven, Connecticut.

}

}

}

Connecticut

Siting

Council

May 11, 2005

Opinion

On June 21, 2004, Omnipoint Communications, Inc. (T-Mobile) 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 153-foot wireless telecommunications facility at either 600 Jones Hill Road, referred to as the Prime Site, or 668 Jones Hill Road, referred to as the Alternate Site, in West Haven, Connecticut. T-Mobile seeks to provide in-vehicle coverage to the Route 162 area of West Haven.

The Council has carefully analyzed the record in this proceeding including an evaluation of T-Mobile’s proposed coverage objectives, existing facilities in the area, and alternative properties and structures. Prior to the filing of the application T-Mobile examined existing structures in the area including a water tank owned by the South Central Regional Water Authority at 40 Shingle Hill Road. The water authority declined to lease space to T-Mobile due to security and access concerns. T-Mobile then conducted a site search for property in industrial and commercial zones; however, no such property was located in the search area. T-Mobile selected the proposed sites due to large lot sizes, the non-residential zone of the Prime Site, and the wooded nature of the Alternate Site.

Based on the lack of suitable existing structures and gaps in T-Mobile’s existing coverage, the Council finds a technical need for a new tower. The Council believes a 153-foot facility at either site would provide T-Mobile sufficient coverage to the target service area and would allow further co-location opportunities for future carriers without the need for additional towers in the area. In addition, T-Mobile would provide space on the tower for no compensation for any municipal emergency service communication antennas, provided such antennas are compatible with the structural integrity of the tower.

The Prime Site is located on an approximate 10-acre parcel zoned Public Facilities. The parcel is developed with a church, three other buildings, and associated parking areas. The tower site is located in a cleared, grassy area to the rear of the Parish House. Abutting property includes a residence, the B&B Flower Farm, and undeveloped property. The tower setback radius would extend onto the adjacent Goffi property be 81 feet. T-Mobile would be unable to relocate the tower site to reduce the encroaching tower setback radius due to site constraints. There are 150 residences within 1,000 feet of the site, primarily to the south and east. The parcel contains little wooded vegetation allowing for open views of the tower and compound from adjacent residences and streets.

The Alternate Site is located on an 11-acre parcel know as the B&B Flower Farm. The eastern portion of the parcel is developed with a residence, farm stand, greenhouse, and barn. The remaining areas of the parcel contain a fields, woods, and wetlands. The tower site is located on the northern edge of the property adjacent to a mobile home park (Figlar property). There are 130 residences within 1,000 feet of the site, primarily to the north and east. The tower setback radius extends onto the Figlar property by 122 feet and includes ten mobile homes. T-Mobile is willing to relocate the site approximately 100 feet to the west to reduce the amount of the setback radius from encroaching upon the Figlar property and associated mobile homes.

After reviewing the visibility impacts of the proposed towers, the Council concludes the Prime Site would have more of a visual impact on the surrounding residential community than the Alternate Site. The Prime Site is 275 feet from Jones Hill Road with no surrounding vegetation to provide screening to adjacent residential areas. Open views of the tower and compound would occur from Morgan Lane and Jones Hill Road. In contrast, the Alternate Site is 400 feet from Jones Hill Road, beyond an intervening slope that would prevent views of the compound and part of the tower from the street. In addition, the Alternate Site is in a wooded area with surrounding bands of mature trees that would provide screening from adjacent parcels and residential areas.

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.

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 the Alternate Site preferable. The Alternate Site is located farther from Jones Hill Road, has fewer residences within 1,000 feet, and would have less of a visual impact on the surrounding area. The Council will order the relocation of the Alternate Site approximately 100 feet to the southwest to provide a greater buffer between the tower and adjacent Figlar Property. In addition, the Council will order a tower design with a yield point of sufficient height to prevent the tower from encroaching upon the Figlar property in the event of a tower failure.

Based on the record in this proceeding, the Council finds that the effects associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of a proposed telecommunications facility at the Alternate 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, the Council will issue a Certificate for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a 153-foot monopole telecommunications facility at the Alternate Site, 668 Jones Hill Road, West Haven, Connecticut, and deny the certification of proposed Prime Site.



Content Last Modified on 10/3/2005 2:10:51 PM