New Canaan Residents petition plans for two new cell towers
NEW CANAAN — Neighbors opposed to two proposed 110-foot cellular towers — one at West School, the other in Irwin Park — have spoken out adamantly to town officials and online.
An online petition addressed to First Selectman Robert Mallozzi III, Selectmen Beth Jones and Nick Williams and members of the Town Council, that originally called for 200 signatures has surpassed its original goal, amassing 215 signatures as of April 18. A new goal of 500 signatures has been set.
Neighbors expressed dismay for a variety of reasons, but many had to do with the town’s natural beauty and its schools, both of which are important in attracting people who might otherwise move elsewhere in Fairfield County.
“New Canaan is a picturesque New England town with fantastic schools and beautiful parks. As citizens we should not scar the landscape, degrade our school system, or destroy property values in the name of better cell coverage,” wrote Chad Hunter, listed as a New Canaan resident. “There are less destructive ways to achieve similar results. Let’s get creative and strike a balance between massive cell compounds and better coverage for pockets of town.”
Others worried that putting a cellular tower roughly 580 feet from a school, according to plans posted by the Utilities Commission, could be a health and safety issue.
“I’m signing because this a moronic idea to put this sort of transmission anywhere near a school, which last I checked has children at it all day long,” wrote David Kieske, also listed as a New Canaan resident.
However, a list of cellular towers located near schools posted to the town’s website shows that there are currently 35 cell towers within 765 feet of a school, 25 of which are closer than the 580 feet between the proposed tower and West School.
Further details on the plan had not been released at the time of writing, though the Utilities Commission was scheduled to make a presentation on the topic at the Thursday, April 20 meeting of the Town Council.
The petition states, “Despite these gigantic monopoles being placed in our parks and at our schools, the Commission has admitted there still will not be adequate coverage in parts of our town. They still need a “remedy” for the northeast portion of town. Also, the town will still need numerous other systems to increase coverage. So why are these towers being proposed?”
The Utilities Commission has long been trying to resolve New Canaan’s service issues. Most recently, the town’s telecommunications consultant, Anthony Lepore, of Florida-based CityScape Consultants, reviewed the town’s cellular service regulations and proposed amendments in order to ensure maximum control over what is built, despite superseding federal and state regulations.
A public forum on the subject will be held 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall on Monday, April 24.