An outcry has been raised against Cingular Wireless' proposal to construct a 134-foot monopole cell tower on New Preston Hill.

Environmental organizations from the Housatonic Valley Association to Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust and the Washington Conservation Commission have written letters in opposition to the proposal.

The tower would be erected on the New Milford side of New Preston Hill, near the Washington town line.

It would sit on the ridge line at the 1,042 foot elevation, near the West Aspetuck River watershed.

The tower would be visible from the Pinnacle at Lake Waramaug, a rock pinnacle that now provides a 360-degree view of the lake area, with no power lines and no cell towers, the Washington Conservation Commission noted.

"The West Aspetuck is the only surface source of Class AA surface drinking water for New Milford," noted Elaine LaBella, HVA director of land protection. "Access to the proposed tower will require a steep access road. ... (This) is known to increase several pollutants harmful to wetlands, ground water and surface water."

Aspects of the tower proposal also have ecologically concerned residents on edge. A petition has been signed by 166 residents of surrounding towns.

"The tower would be less than 400 feet from the Washington border and close to the Kent border," the petition reads. "It would have a negative visual impact. It could have a strong, adverse impact on the ecology and conservation of the area."

The New Milford Zoning Commission conducted a May 27 informational meeting about the tower.

While the commission doesn't have approval purview for the tower, it does have the ability to present alternatives or preferences for the tower's location to the Connecticut Siting Council.

The Siting Council would approve or deny an application, although an application has not yet been filed with the state.

Zoning Chairman Bill Taylor said Monday he has asked Cingular Wireless' representatives to make a more informative presentation.

A meeting would be held at a date still to be determined.

"They did not do a very good job with the presentation," Taylor said. "From the other cell tower applications that have come before us, they invariably bring in engineers, do a balloon float, have pictures -- there was none of that."

Taylor said "we heard from a lot of people in the public and they had some valid concerns."

In Cuddy & Fedder's letter to Mayor Pat Murphy, attorney Daniel Laub expressed a cell tower on New Preston Hill is essential for continued coverage.

"There is a community need for a tower in this area," wrote Laub, representing Cingular Wireless (AT&T). "Signal levels are not reliable in and around the northeastern portions (of New Milford), along New Preston Hill Road, Cherniske Road, Sawyer Hill Road and Frenchman Road."

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