Rooftop cell antennas approved for Shelton hotel roof

The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) has unanimously approved the placement of 12 mounted cell antennas on the roof of the Hampton Inn on Bridgeport Avenue, close to Commerce Drive.

The Verizon Wireless antennas will be inside three structures on the top of the six-story building. Each antenna grouping will point in a different direction.

The applicant made some changes after P&Z members had expressed concerns about an earlier plan submitted in 2014.

“There wasn’t a lot of nice things the commission had to say about that proposal,” said the applicant’s attorney, Ken Baldwin of Robinson & Cole.

Baldwin said the revised plan “looks significantly different,” using design elements to match the hotel’s architecture.

About 12 feet in height

The antennas will be about 12 feet high, and an existing equipment concealment structure on the roof now is 14 feet high, said Carlo Centore, an engineer with Centek Engineering, representing Verizon.

One antenna grouping will be attached to the side of the equipment structure, which is located toward the back of the hotel, and then painted to blend in with that structure.

Two new structures will be built for the other two antenna groupings. They will be four-sided, slightly taller than the antennas, and built of fiberglass material resembling the hotel’s stucco facade.

One of the new structures should be mostly screened in the front by the hotel’s logo sign that now is slightly elevated above the roof line.

Questions on visibility in rear

Some questions were asked about how visible the antennas might be from nearby buildings, particularly behind the hotel in the nearby Scinto corporate park, which are at a higher elevation.

Nancy Dickal, P&Z member, worried the antennas might be unsightly and negative effect vacancy rates at nearby buildings.

But it was pointed out the roofs of lower buildings such as the hotel already can be seen from many Scinto structures, the hotel’s roof already has mechanical equipment on it, and there is some tree cover in between.

A gas-powered backup generator for the cell antennas will be placed in the roof’s existing equipment structure, and will need to be tested weekly for about 20 minutes.

Ruth Parkins, P&Z chairman, was concerned noise or vibrations from the backup generator might disturb people in hotel rooms below.

Verizon to use all 12 antennas

All 12 antennas would be used by Verizon Wireless. The Hampton Inn is located in a Planned Development District.

In the past, some P&Z members have said they worry too many cell antennas are being placed in Shelton.

Local land-use boards such as the P&Z regulate rooftop-mounted cell antennas, while free-standing cell towers — which often are more visible — are controlled exclusively by a state entity, the Connecticut Siting Council.