Old Hat Complaints Persist Regarding New Canaan Tower Project

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UPDATE  During a virtual public meeting held last week, 21 of 24 attendees opposed an AT&T 90-foot monopine that’s proposed on private property next to St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, CT. The residents complained the tower would be a danger to children and coverage in the area is already good, reported the New Canaan Advertiser.

AT&T signed a contract last September to be the anchor for a tower that will house four carriers. The proposed tower site is on a cul-de-sac, 38 feet from St. Luke’s School. The site would house a walk-in mechanical cabinet, which would sit on a roughly nine-foot square concrete pad, a diesel generator that would sit on an estimated eight-foot square concrete pad, and a hinge point at 52 feet, reported the Advertiser.

Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman John Goodwin argued the tower does not comply with the required 50-foot setback since the proposal includes only a 20-foot setback from the street. “New towers should be located away from property lines and habitable buildings as far as the height of the tower, including the antenna. It is approximately 20 feet next to the property line,” he said.

Parent Kimberly Harper, who opposes the project and whose son attends St. Luke’s School, protested. “The internet is flooded with montage videos of cell towers catching fire and collapsing,” so the setback or fall zone “should be greater” to “protect the children at St. Luke’s School,” Harper said.

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan defended the need for the tower by comparing New Canaan to Manhattan. “While New Canaan is a small town of only 20,000 residents, it is important to understand that New Canaan has a relatively large landmass of 22.5 square miles, four miles by six miles. We receive most of our cell service through an antenna in five locations, four of which are in New Canaan.”

By comparison, “the isle of Manhattan has a landmass nearly identical to New Canaan’s at 22.8 square miles, two miles by 12 miles. Compared to New Canaan’s five locations, Manhattan broadcasts cell signals from 14,000 antenna locations according to a Google search,” he added.

Moynihan explained coverage for emergencies is necessary. Resident Roy Abromowitz backed up the topic, stating that people come from other areas, sit in cars to get cell service in the neighborhood, and the cell tower would not be practical in an area with four-acre lots, a reservoir, and a lake in its 1.5-mile coverage area.

No decision was made on the project during the July 9 meeting. According to the Advertiser, the Siting Council has sole authority to decide whether a tower should be constructed. 

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