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Public hearing on Kent cell tower and a new balloon float

KENT — The Connecticut Siting Council will conduct a remote public hearing via Zoom on Thursday, July 23. The topic is the cell tower being proposed by Homeland Towers for one of two possible sites in Kent. 

Homeland Towers and New Cingular Wireless (AT&T) filed an application last year to the Siting Council, which decides where cell towers can be built in Connecticut. 

The company is proposing building a tower at one of two locations in Kent. One site is on Bald Hill Road, the other is on Richards Road. At whichever  site is chosen, antennae would be placed on a 154-foot monopole.

At a public hearing about the proposed tower in December, Kent residents said they were strongly opposed to the possibility of a tower in their town and at least one person threatened to sue the tower company.

Concerns for the most part fell into two camps. Some people felt they would ruin the town’s rural aesthetic, which is listed as a priority in the Town Plan of Conservation and Development. Some people were concerned about health effects from the towers, including the potential damage if the tower were to fall.

Rescue volunteers in town and some town residents said that the towers would improve communications in areas such as Segar Mountain Road, which is steep and curvy and where motor vehicle accidents occur with some frequency. 

A second balloon float

Todd Powell has organized a grassroots opposition group, which has come up with a coverage alternative, working with the town of Kent. 

In an email sent out on Friday, June 19, Powell described that alternative plan as “a small cell solution (transmitters that are mounted on telephone poles) that provides better coverage of Route 341 than the proposed towers.  

“The small cells will be able to link up with the existing cell tower in the Town of Kent and the proposed tower in Warren that has been approved by the Town of Warren. This would allow better hand off of calls at both ends, providing more seamless coverage and better safety coverage as it would cover the curvy portion of the road that passes by the Cobble valley.”

The group did its own balloon test on July 4. Powell and his group expressed concern that the Siting Council would not come to Kent to see the impact on the landscape that a 154-foot tower could have. Homeland had already done a trial balloon float as part of the application process.

Siting Council hearing

For those who wish to participate or listen, the Siting Council public hearing will begin with an evidentiary session at 2 p.m. the public comment session will begin at 6:30 p.m. 

The Siting Council website says that, “The purpose of the hearing is to receive evidence on the applicants’ assertions that the public need for the facility outweighs any adverse environmental effects from the construction, operation and maintenance of the facility.”

To view or participate in the hearing sessions, go to www.zoom.us/j/98239942005?pwd=ektScjhxZ0RMaFVvK2NHMzVBdWwydz09 from a computer, smartphone or tablet. No prior software download is required. 

For audio-only participation, dial in at 929-205-6099 (this is not toll free) and then enter the Meeting ID# 982 3994 2005from a telephone.

Interested persons may join any session to listen, but must sign up in advance to speak during the 6:30 p.m. public comment session. To participate in the 6:30 p.m. public comment session by computer, smartphone or tablet,send an email to siting.council@ct.gov with your name, email address and mailing address by July 16. 

To participate in the 6:30 p.m. public comment session by telephone, leave a voicemail message at 860-827-2935 with your name, telephone number and mailing address by July 16. 

Public comments may also be submitted to the council by electronic mail or by regular mail.

“Any person may be removed from the Zoom remote evidentiary session or public comment session at the discretion of the Council,” according to the Siting Council website.

A verbatim transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Siting Council’s website and a copy will be available at the Kent town clerk’s office.

For more detailed information, go to the Siting Council website at www.ct.gov/csc/cwp/view.asp?a=962&q=611306.

This application is Docket No. 488.

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