Mr. Keith Richey wrote a long Op-Ed yesterday [Feb. 23] in NewCanaanite.com explaining his rationale for erecting a cell tower on his residence in New Canaan. Foremost, let me say on behalf of our neighborhood (Soundview and Hidden Meadow Lanes, as well as Laurel, North Wilton and Deep Valley Roads, as well as extended neighbors) that his facts are simply wrong. Keith and Marina Richey did nothing to inform their neighbors, including St. Luke’s School, of their intentions, plans and negotiations to build a cell tower with Homeland Towers.
I read your Facebook status update regarding an Op-Ed on the proposed cell tower and would like to make an essential clarification: St. Luke’s is not and was never in negotiations with the Town of New Canaan or any cell tower provider to place a tower on our campus. It is accurate that in April 2017 the town requested and was granted a meeting. They presented facts about the need for cell coverage and cited safety concerns. St. Luke’s expressed strong reservations about use of our campus and the conversation ended.
This is to confirm that a Lease Option Agreement has been signed with Homeland Towers (the town’s selected cell tower provider) for a potential cell tower at 183 Soundview Lane. The LOA requires a cell carrier to sign-up as sponsor in order for anything to happen. No carrier has signed. If a carrier does sign up, then the town will have the opportunity for input. After the input period, a cell tower site application may be made to the Connecticut Siting Council (CSC).
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.
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.