Saying expert help is needed, officials on Tuesday approved a $7,500 allocation to hire an Simsbury-based consulting firm to help New Canaan review and revise the telecommunications section of its zoning regulations.
The Board of Selectmen by a 3-0 vote approved the request from Interim Town Planner Keisha Fink during its regular meeting.
According to Fink, Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman John Goodwin had recommended hiring Planimetrics since the town had “identified a need to be proactive in updating” the relevant section of the regulations.
“Myself and other members of the Planning & Zoning Commission have reviewed the current telecommunications zoning regulations and feel it is prudent that the town have in place standards that should address any future applications affecting the siting of antenna facilities in town,” Fink said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “We believe that the Hiring of Planimetrics is the most efficient use of the town’s time and resources in order to bring forth a more comprehensive telecommunications regulations.”
Selectman Beth Jones said the general consensus is that “everyone wants to move ahead with this as quickly as possible, so we can get some professional help from people who have dealt with this before.”
Jones, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectman Nick Williams voted in favor of the allocation for Planimetrics.
According to a timeline provided by Planimetrics President Glenn Chalder, the firm would create a revised set of regulations for P&Z to review next month, with a public hearing to be held in January and possible adoption in February.
The firm recently consulted for the town on the Grace Farms application and had helped with the update in 2014 of New Canaan’s Plan of Conservation & Development.
As it is, the telecom section of the New Canaan Zoning Regulations encompasses two pages (see pages 157 and 158 here) and refers to satellite TV dishes and radio antennas.
The matter of updating New Canaan’s regulations with respect to telecom arose last year. A subcommittee of P&Z was formed to study the issue and report back to the full commission, but it was dissolved two months ago.
Meanwhile, the New Canaan Utilities Commission—after receiving negative feedback on an original proposal for cell towers at Irwin Park and West School—has been looking for other places that infrastructure could be placed in order to boost service in parts of town that don’t have it.