Town to seek resident input on adding cell towers

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Feb. 21, 2014

Glastonbury could see as many as three new cell phone towers erected in town in the near future, and town officials are seeking resident input on the plan. At the Feb. 11 council meeting, Town Manager Richard Johnson said there are three proposals from Message Center Management for potential towers on town properties, including on a hill behind the Old Cider Mill, on Winter Hill Farm, and in an open space off of Owens Lane.

The State of Connecticut's Citing Council has the authority over communications towers, and municipalities have little standing in those deliberations, except sometimes as an intervener via a court-like process. However, because the proposed sites are town-owned, Glastonbury would have to make those decisions.

“The thought would be that if you want to consider this, to seek input and have a public information hearing,” Johnson said.

Council Chair Chip Beckett said many residents have expressed concern over poor reception in their areas of town, including South Glastonbury, and that he liked the idea of hearing what the residents' wishes are.

“I'm encouraged by the fact that if these indeed do go up on town property that we do have a say,” said Councilman Larry Byar. “This is going to have an impact on adjoining property owners. I would be encouraged to hear what they have to say.”

“There are a lot of places in town with poor cell coverage,” said councilman Whit Osgood. “Having improved coverage becomes more important, not to mention the fact that it could become a potential source of revenue for the town.”

Johnson said that each site will be considered independently, so anywhere from zero to all three towers could potentially be built.

A public hearing will likely take place sometime in May. Johnson said he would expect a presentation by MCM, including the expected coverage area.

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