Should the landscape acquire an additional 46 feet of cell tower, some residents in Avon, CT fear the view will suffer irreparable damage, reports the Hartford Courant. The tower currently occupying that spot stands 100 feet tall and disappears in the surrounding treeline. The original tower was built in 2004, and pre-dates the neighborhood that has sprouted up around it. Many of these neighbors object to plans to construct a 146-foot replacement tower that would extend above the woods.
The growing population is one of the reasons that Avon has been working for years to address coverage issues and dead spots. In 2019, taxpayers approved a $4 million referendum to upgrade its aging analog system with new technology. Rescue personnel have said that the complete lack of coverage in some parts of town leaves people unable to call for help, and can keep emergency services from being able to talk with each other.
“There are areas in the west end of town that have no coverage for mobile or portable radios,” noted engineering firm L.R. Kimball in a study of the region. “In these areas first responders are essentially unable to be contacted or respond with updates, information, requests for medical services and requests for backup.”
Before determining that the current cell tower site was the best location, Avon officials say that they considered other options and settled on the current site as the best choice. “Anywhere else is going to be more expensive — and the tower will likely have to be taller,” Town Manager Brandon Robertson told the Hartford Courant.
If final approval is granted, Avon plans to work with SBA to construct the new tower. SBA agreed to host Avon’s municipal communications equipment as part of the deal. The initial $450,000 construction costs would be split between the parties.
Some residents in the Berkshire Crossing neighborhood where the cell tower is sited have circulated petitions against the project and are hoping to rally the vote against plans for a 146-foot tower. “Right now the pole is lower than the tree level — we know it’s there, but nobody sees it,” said organizer Michael Galati. “The town wants it to be five stories higher. That will be a huge monstrosity.”