Residents who live near the site of a proposed new cell tower on Highland Golf Club property recently got a sense of what a tower would look like in their neighborhood during a one-day “balloon float.”
That’s when AT&T, the company that may file an application to build a tower, put up tethered balloons at two locations under consideration on golf course land — off Perry Hill Road near Walnut Avenue (Site A) or at the southern end of the dead-end Walnut Avenue (Site B).
The balloons were 120 feet in the air, the height of the proposed towers. A black balloon was at Site A and a red balloon at the more isolated Site B.
“You buy a house here because you’re looking at the valley,” said Frank DeAngelo, who owns a house on Walnut Avenue near Perry Hill Road, close to Site A.
“It’s right there,” he said, pointing to the black balloon while standing at the top of his driveway. “It’s enlightening how close it is to people’s homes.
“And they’re only showing a balloon — not a tower with all the equipment on the ground,” he added.
His neighbor Leslie Jerdik also was concerned with the proximity of the possible tower at Site A.
“It’s kind of tall — and would be an obvious thing in this area,” Jerdik said. “This is disturbing.”
Concerns on size of diesel generator
Jerdik also is concerned about the size of a proposed generator that would be near the base of the tower. The tower would have a diesel generator as a backup energy source.
Jerdik and DeAngelo worry about living so close to radio frequencies and possible issues with radiation.
They noted that Perry Hill School is just around the corner.
DeAngelo thinks cell towers should be put only in commercially zoned areas because of the negative impact on homeowners.
“This would be affecting us 24/7,” he said, referring to the fact that people tend to spend much more time in their homes than they do at a commercial property, such as a work site.
The balloon float was intended to give residents and officials an indication of how visible a cell tower would be at the locations.
AT&T wants to build one tower in the vicinity to provide better phone coverage in that part of town.
AT&T sent notices to some neighbors and interested parties to inform them of the balloon test, and the office of Mayor Mark Lauretti sent notices to additional neighbors.
At a recent informational meeting at Shelton City Hall held by AT&T on the possible sites, some people spoke out against putting the towers in residential areas.
Most of the opposition has centered on Site A, which is near many more homes than Site B.
Cell tower applications are handled by the Connecticut Siting Council and do not need local zoning or wetlands approval.
If AT&T should make a formal application for one of the locations, the Connecticut Siting Council would hold a formal public hearing in Shelton as part of that approval process.