A private company is working on plans for a tower — or towers — that could improve cell telephone communication in northern Ridgefield, according to First Selectman Rudy Marconi.
He raised the issue Wednesday night, Nov. 28, at a public hearing on the Conservation Commission’s plan to buy land off Ledges Road that had been proposed in the past as a cell tower site that could benefit service in Ridgebury.
“I did speak with a company that is researching other locations in that area,” Mr. Marconi said. “…And feel confident by the first of the year they will be making an announcement.”
He offered no details such as the name of the company or the locations they are studying. Since negotiations with property owners are continuing, the company is reluctant to make details public, he said.
But he said the negotiations appear promising.
“They said they felt very comfortable and felt they would have a completed negotiation by January,” Mr. Marconi said.
The company is looking at up to three sites, Mr. Marconi suggested.
“What we’ve been told, this isn’t one single location. They may need multiple locations,” he said. “Cell towers need to be able to see each other.”
The first selectman’s announcement came in the context of a public hearing at which several speakers decried the lack of cell phone service in parts of Ridgebury and north Ridgefield, particularly in the wake of Storm Sandy, the third major storm in about a year that left many residents without land lines and electricity, and forced to rely on cell phones.
“I’m here for the purpose of advocating a cell tower,” said Fred Morrison of 84 Sugar Loaf Mountain Road. “We have no communication out there.”
In 2011 the selectmen and the Conservation Commission collaborated on a joint purchase of the 28-acre property off Ledges Road for $1 million, but it was rejected by voters after vehement neighborhood opposition to renting part of it as a cell tower site.
Now the commission has re-negotiated a purchase for $825,000, and rejected the selectmen’s suggestion to again hold some land aside as a potential cell tower site.
Controversy over the commission’s decision appears to have been defused by Mr. Marconi’s announcement that a private company is looking at different sites for cell towers that would improve service in Ridgebury.
A town meeting on the proposed conservation purchase is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 in town hall’s lower level conference room.