Tom Tesluk

Recent Articles

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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Town Officials Decry Lack of Civility from Cell Tower Critics, Agree To Pursue Alternatives

Taking to heart residents’ concerns about proposed cell towers at Irwin Park and West School, especially with respect to people’s health, town officials said Monday night that they’re actively looking at alternatives. During a meeting that saw members of the Board of Selectmen and Utilities Commission admonish some for what they called disrespectful and uncivilly delivered remarks at a recent public hearing, officials said they’ve asked consultants to find out whether a different location in Irwin would still work and whether there are alternative sites in western New Canaan to the elementary school there. “We are going to set aside West School for now while we look for different choices,” Utilities Commission Chairman Tom Tesluk said during the meeting, held at Town Hall and attended by about 15 people. The commission has discussed its early-stage proposal since last week’s public hearing and concluded that “coming up with additional options and alternatives is an important part of what we are going to enter into.”

Specifically, the commission has asked consultants from Boca Raton, Fla.-based wireless telecom consulting firm Cityscape to look at relocating a proposed cell tower from the southwest corner of Irwin “up the hill, closer to the garage” and “to actively explore and determine what we would need up there” to achieve sufficient cell coverage in that part of town, Tesluk said. “With respect to West School, it is a trickier situation because at the moment finding alternative locations on the west side is difficult. But that is not to say that we are not going to look for alternatives. 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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‘Maybe There Is a Better Area’: Neighbors Voice Concerns about Prospect of Cell Towers at Irwin Park, West School

Kevin Clark, a resident of Wahackme Road, built his house 20 years ago, past the footpath that loops around the back of a 36-acre parcel known to New Canaanites today as Irwin Park. When locals debated the acquisition of that parcel as public land, Clark recalled, he sided with those in favor of the purchase “because [former First Selectman] Judy Neville and the Town Council assured us that it would be set aside as beautiful parkland and preserve the integrity of the landscape and preserve the integrity of the quiet residential community that has existed there for 100 years.”

Faced now with the prospect of a 110-foot cell tower near the park’s southwest corner—a draft plan whose development has been overseen by the New Canaan Utilities Commission—Clark said he is concerned that those assurances had been hollow. “I do not think any of you would want an 11-story tower in your backyard,” Clark told members of the Utilities Commission during their regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “Where it is sited right now, I will open my shade in the morning when I wake up in my bedroom and I will see the tower. It is just not the way a town like New Canaan should act—in a responsible way for its citizens. Continue Reading →

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‘A Very Positive First Step’: Utility Co. Reopens Natural Gas Talks with Town, Officials Say

Town officials said Monday night that the utility company has restarted conversations about bringing natural gas to New Canaan—a three-year-old effort that stalled and finally broke down last summer in a finger-pointing squabble between the parties. Yet Eversource has returned to the town “and said that they would like to present a new proposal and have a new discussion about bringing natural gas into New Canaan,” according to Utilities Commission Chairman Tom Tesluk. “They are very conscious that a lot of discussion took place and went nowhere last time,” Tesluk said at the commission’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “I think they’re sincere in bringing a proposal to the town, so we’ll just have to wait and see what they come up with. But there are some obvious advantages to being able to have natural gas in New Canaan and I think it’s safe to say that most of us would welcome it if it can be done efficiently.”

Tesluk said members of the commission and Board of Selectmen met with Eversource officials recently. Continue Reading →

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