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Letter: Cell tower would be a blight

Published 10:46 am, Friday, April 18, 2014
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An AT&Tcell tower might be located in a Residence AA Zone close to the intersection of Hillspoint Road and Greens Farms Road. The tower would be be 120 feet tall. It would loom above the tree line at this "gateway" intersection leading towards our beaches. The address of the site is 92 Greens Farms Rd., a private residence.

We are members of the Westport Representative Town Meeting. 92 Greens Farms Road is in RTM District 5. We write to engage the public and to express our abhorrence of a 120-footcell tower in a residential zone. A citizens group has been formed, and all avenues of opposition are being explored.

Cell phones are part of day-to-day living. They are convenient and, in emergencies, important. Nevertheless, the adverse impacts of acell tower resonate with most citizens.

Cell towers generate health risks. Also, the size of cell towers, particularly their massive foundations, requires and impacts upon a large land mass. That will be particularly so at 92 Greens Farms Road since there are water courses that flow into a nearby pond and also under I-95 to the Sherwood Mill Pond.

The cell-phone industry managed in 1996 to secure the passage of very favorable federal legislation. As implemented in Connecticut by the unfortunate creation of a state Siting Council, local communities are severely constrained in their ability to impact upon cell tower siting.

Those constraints preclude challenges based upon the adverse effects from electro magnetic fields and radio waves generated by cell towers. Those dangers, particularly for the young and those with certain genetic pre-dispositions, are well known, but must be ignored in any site determination by reason of the law. The law also pre-empts local zoning regulations, for example a regulation adopted by Westport's Planning & Zoning Commission in 2000. Our P&Z regulation makes it clear that Westport does not want any cell tower in a residential zone. Sadly, the law negates the effectiveness of our regulation, except as a public declaration by Westport in opposition to cell towers in residential zones. We believe Westport does not want a 120-foot-tall cell tower looming above the trees at 92 Greens Farms Road.

First Selectman Jim Marpe is pursuing avenues that he believes appropriate. However, whatever the town undertakes, public interest and concern is crucial. We need to stop this before it gets to the Siting Council. So please join in this battle. Let us or others on the RTM know of your support. Even better, email the citizens group at notowerat92@gmail.com or Hope Hageman at hhagema1@gmail.com .

Please engage. Like Joni Mitchell's "tearing down trees for a parking lot", this cell tower will also be a blight.

Seth Braunstein, RTM Dist. 5

Peter Gold, RTM Dist. 5

Paul Rossi, RTM Dist. 5

John F. Suggs RTM Dist. 5

Don Bergmann, RTM Dist.1