An Advertiser article recently suggested that town officials might work with private property owners for cellular site development. Doing so risks costly litigation, pitting neighbor against neighbor, like what we saw with the proposed Puddin Hill site a few years ago. While one private property owner may benefit from tower revenues, surrounding property owners would likely protest the impact. If the town steps away, and supports private property owners working directly with telecommunications carriers and the Connecticut Siting Council, we substantially reduce the town’s municipal voice in the siting process, risk exposing surrounding private property owners to real estate devaluation, and would be losing cellular revenues.
As a former member of the Utilities Commission, the wireless topics which public meeting attendees seemed to care most about were real estate/view shed impact, and health. Health impact from towers was not clear, but real estate impact offered ample evidence. With the town managing the process, we can manage the impact of tower sites, lower our public safety risk, and benefit from the revenues.
Improved cellular service is an important public service need. However, should it take place over a focus on our spending habits, keeping taxes in check, and improved train service? I have no connection to Rich Townsend, but based on his electoral platform of supporting property values, and vote tally at this year’s Republican caucus (1250 ballots, 942 of those voted for him), it would suggest taxes and property values are at the forefront of voter’s minds.