cell service

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Aquarion: Cellular Antennas Will Come Off Water Towers at Waveny

Officials with the company that owns the water towers at Waveny—tall structures that double as a site for wireless equipment from five cellular companies as well as New Canaan’s emergency radio gear—say that though the antennas ultimately must be removed, they’re working with the town to ensure that there’s no gap in service. Aquarion has “already verbally offered to the town that we will leave the antennas on the tank for an additional year,” meaning New Canaan will have until November 2019 to see through an early-stage plan to erect its own tower at the park for the wireless infrastructure, according to Peter Fazekas, the company’s director of public relations. “That will be adequate [for New Canaan] to build a tower and transfer the antennas,” Fazekas told NewCanaanite.com. “The goal here is to find a good solution. We cannot keep them on our tank, so we are looking for a good solution.”

Asked just why the equipment needs to come off of the water towers, Fazekas said, “It is causing problems with maintenance on the infrastructure.”

“We are supposed to do a complete repaint of the tank and we had to cancel that because we could not get all the cell companies to get their equipment off the tank, so we had to cancel that,” he said. Continue Reading →

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Officials Dissolve P&Z Subcommittee on Wireless

Saying a subcommittee of the Planning & Zoning Commission appeared to have overstepped its charge—developing a town-wide strategy for wireless communications rather focusing on more specific areas such as screening and height—officials last week dissolved the group. P&Z Chairman John Goodwin said in an Aug. 17 email that the commission has made “very good progress on this complicated and contentious issue” since the question of specifics on wireless in the New Canaan Zoning Regulations came up last year. Yet “the process has become more politicized than would have been ideal,” Goodwin said. “While in many public statements, we have stated that the commission should not be the entity to be developing a wireless strategy for the town, we have tended to wander into that realm in some of our discussions. Continue Reading →

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Utilities Commission: Consultants Studying Whether Irwin Park House’s Garage Could House Cell Service Equipment

A Danbury-based wireless infrastructure company that’s doing consulting work for the town continues to look for an alternative site within Irwin Park after the community argued against a proposed tower in the property’s southwest corner, officials said Monday. Homeland Towers is looking at the garage that’s connected by a breezeway to the main house at Irwin to store “all the equipment so it would be out of sight,” according to Utilities Commission Chairman Tom Tesluk. “The idea of placing an antenna or two shorter antennas behind the garage—we are not talking about the barn toward Weed Street, but the garage up on the hill—because that is a higher elevation of what was discussed before, it should have some benefit with its relative height,” Tesluk said at the group’s regular meeting, held in Town Hall. “I don’t think we will see anything from them until September.”

The comments came during an update on New Canaan’s efforts to improve cell service in areas that currently lack it, such as western and northern parts of town. Commissioners in May, noting that some remarks had been uncivilly delivered by opponents to the idea in a public hearing, agreed to find alternative sites to West School and a specific area of Irwin Park. Continue Reading →

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Op-Ed: The Process of Making ‘Cell Tower Sausage’

We’ve all heard the term before, especially when describing the political process in D.C., but the same name holds true for small-town politics and commissions. When new initiatives are put forth in New Canaan, projects like school additions, budgets, road construction and sidewalks, even the Town Hall project, people get very passionate and vocal as to what direction they believe the town should be going. That’s a good thing and that’s exactly how the process should work. Not only are the public expected to behave in a civil manner during these discussions, but the elected officials and the volunteers on these commissions are expected to patiently listen to, and take into account, the opinions and concerns of their constituency. Not just argue for their own proposed agenda. Continue Reading →

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Residents Clash with Utilities Commission Over Cell Tower Proposal

More than 100 New Canaan residents gathered at Town Hall Monday night to express their thoughts and ask questions regarding the Utilities Commission’s preliminary proposal to build cell phone towers at Irwin Park and West School in efforts to improve service in the north and west sections of the town. The meeting, which opened the floor to the public and was in session for more than three hours, was at times tense and acrimonious as residents and commission members clashed over how the process has gone thus far and how it could affect the town in both the short- and long-term. Utilities Commission Chairman Tom Tesluk opened with a presentation extensively detailing the plans for the proposed cell towers, but stressed that the purpose of the meeting was to garner feedback from residents and provide an opportunity for the consultants hired by the town for the project the chance to answer questions. He also reiterated that the official decision on the construction of the towers would ultimately be up to the Town Council and not the commission. “There has been a certain sense in this town, at a point, that maybe this is a done deal, maybe there’s been a Pearl Harbor sneak attack of powers, but I promise you there hasn’t,” he told the crowd. Continue Reading →

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