120-foot cell tower proposed for Greens Farms site
Published 2:42 pm, Tuesday, February 18, 2014
A 120-foot-tall cell phone tower would be erected on a Greens Farms Road property, not far from Interstate 95 and Hillspoint Road, according to preliminary plans for the project.
The site at 92 Greens Farms Road is owned by Pradiv Mahesh, who said he has agreed to let the tower be built on his 1.86-acre property, pending the required approvals.
"I guess they felt this is a good location," Mahesh said Tuesday.
"We don't know what will happen here yet," he added. "We haven't gotten any particulars. That will all happen somewhere down the road."
A legal notice for the plan, published Feb. 14 in the Westport News, states the 120-foot monopole would be built by North Atlantic Towers and set within a 35-by-64-foot fenced, gravel compound.
The tower's wireless service provider would be AT&T.
Michael Libertine of All Points Technology Corporation in Killingworth, a company collecting data on the proposal, agreed the timeframe for the plan is uncertain. He said there's been a "set back" in getting the project moving ahead because of "all the snow" this winter.
That has held up tests at the site, he said.
Mahesh said other details of the plan, such as whether he would move from his home on the property if the project is approved, also have not been settled.
Libertine said that, in general, the local Board of Selectmen and the Planning & Zoning and Inland Wetlands commissions are made aware of the plan just prior to the cellular company submitting its formal plans.
First Selectman Jim Marpe said this week he has not been contacted about the project.
And some members of the Greens Farms Association Board of Directors said they only learned of the plan after seeing the notice in the Westport News.
"I'm not sure what it's all about," said Anne Beers, a board member of the neighborhood group. "We are just hearing about it."
Lois Sussman, also board member, said the proposal will be discussed at their next monthly meeting.
Sussman said she's not familiar with the property where the tower has been proposed, but added, "It's just barely Greens Farms."
"Our concern is that sometimes, by the time a notice appears, the company has already submitted plans to the Siting Council and they don't inform us of their meetings," she said. "And once the Siting Council makes a decision, well, that's it."
But Libertine said an application to the Siting Council won't be filed for a while. "It could be several months before a formal application is submitted," he said.
He said the town gets a minimum of 90 days, from the date of the application filing, to submit questions and also to set up a hearing for the public to comment.
"We can get a lot of helpful feedback during those hearings," said Libertine, who added he works primarily on historical issues associated with such projects.
That application includes a technical report and site plan. It would also demonstrate a need in the area for a cell tower, he said. That would include the need for enhanced coverage of a certain area or if it's a high-volume area, he said. "Carriers are constantly evaluating their systems," he added.
In choosing a location to build a cell tower, the company will designate a quarter-mile search area and look for possible locations within that zone, Libertine said. He said in the Greens Farms Road case, it appears they wanted to choose a location that was "very close to I-95 and Metro-North" railroad.
While most residents living closest to Mahesh's property could not be reached for comment, William Trefzger, of 99 Greens Farms Road, who said he is aware of the plan, said he wouldn't mind a tower nearby.
"It's all about communication," said the 85-year-old Trefzger. "If it's needed, it's needed,"