Westport cell tower proposal moves forward

This property at 92 Greens Farms Road, not far from Interstate 95 and Hillspoint Road, is the proposed site of a transmission tower for wireless communications equipment.

This property at 92 Greens Farms Road, not far from Interstate 95 and Hillspoint Road, is the proposed site of a transmission tower for wireless communications equipment.

Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

WESTPORT — A plan to install a cell tower at a Greens Farm Road address is moving forward, much to the chagrin of the town’s first selectman.

On Friday, First Selectman Jim Marpe announced that Westport officials had been notified by wireless communication companies Tarpon Towers II, LLC and New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC of the intent to proceed with installation of a cell tower at 92 Greens Farms Road.

The notice follows an earlier historic preservation review process that was announced by the applicant in June of this year.

This is at least the second attempt to install the tower at the address. In 2014, another company, North Atlantic Towers, proposed a tower facility at this same location, an attempt that was met with resistance by many neighbors, who held a protest at the site, claiming the project wasn’t necessary. North Atlantic eventually stopped pursuing the project.

Marpe said he recently received a letter and technical report from the attorney representing Tarpon, stating that the company plans to file an application with the Connecticut Siting Council for a Certificate of Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance and operation of a telecommunications facility at the Greens Farms site.

Although the proposed tower facility location is at a private residence, under state law, the Connecticut Siting Council has exclusive jurisdiction over telecommunication facilities, meaning the local planning and zoning commission doesn’t have oversight.

In his statement, Marpe said he was “dismayed” that the proposal for the cell tower was continuing, even after the rejection of the similar project in 2014. “At that time, many raised numerous rational and thoughtful reasons why this location was inappropriate, and the proposal was dropped,” he said.

Marpe said that town officials will have an opportunity to propose alternative sites for the tower, and there will be opportunities for the Planning & Zoning and Conservation commissions to review and comment on the proposal. A public informational meeting also is slated to take place to discuss the application with the community.

“Please be assured that we intend to review this proposal carefully with staff and legal counsel, exploring all options and alternatives,” Marpe said. “I will keep the community informed throughout the process.”