Shermanites debate cell tower need
Updated 4:37 pm, Monday, September 30, 2013
More cell towers might not be needed in Sherman.
At least that's according to an RCC Communications study.
AT & T proposes constructing a 170-foot monopole tower with antennas for up to 12 carriers at 16 Coote Hill Road, in the southern end of town.
At the same time, it would extend the height of its existing tower at White Silo Farm to the east.
That plan drew fire from many residents, prompting the RCC study.
The study found by constructing two radio "antenna poles," just more than 71 percent town coverage could be achieved -- one 80-foot pole on Mauweehoo Hill to the south and one 60-foot pole on Tower Hill to the north.
The radio tower at the Sherman fire station in the town center would be retained.
Those three sites could work in tandem with the already existing AT & T cell tower on the silo at Happy Acres Farm along Route 39 North, RCC suggests.
"There is a significant consensus in the town that cellphone and emergency services communication needs to be improved," said resident Stan Greenbaum.
"However, many people feel that towers being proposed by private cell companies are commercial overreach," he said. "We would like to see service improved" while preserving the town's scenic beauty.
First Selectman Clay Cope sent AT & T a letter Sept. 9 regarding the Coote Hill Road proposal. Crafted by the Planning and Zoning Commission, the letter stated the town preferred alternate tower locations.
It and supporting documents will be presented to the state Siting Council when AT & T files its tower application.
Attorney Christopher Fisher, representing AT & T, said the Coote Hill Road tower would work in tandem with existing AT & T towers in Sherman, New Fairfield and New Milford as part of the company's overall plan for network improvements in Connecticut.
"The proposed facility will provide... communication in the southern portion of the town of Sherman, along portions of state routes 37 and 39, local roads, homes and lake communities in the surrounding area, including the northerly parts of Squantz Pond and Candlewood Lake," SAI Communication consultants state in AT & T's technical report.
Sherman emergency responders and Litchfield County Dispatch have long argued for better coverage in the town.
In December 2010, voters defeated LCD's proposal to install a 190-foot cell tower at Sherman Town Meadows. Equipment was instead mounted on the Sherman firehouse.
"We still need more improvements," fire Chief Chris Pritcher said. "The equipment in the firehouse helped, but still leaves the southern and northern ends of town in a lurch."