A cell telephone tower appears to be in the works for a site in Ridgebury.
An empty three-acre lot on the heights overlooking Ledges Road has been sold to a firm that specializes in wireless communications towers.
The Wilton Bank sold the property for $265,000 to InSite Towers LLC of Alexandria, Va.
“InSite Towers LLC owns, operates and manages wireless tower site facilities, and is currently developing sites throughout the United States,” the firm’s website says.
InSite claims to own more than 650 towers in 37 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada.
The lot that sold is just off the intersection of Old Stagecoach Road and Aspen Ledges Drive. It has access easements to pass over nearby town land.
The lot is said to be within about 50 feet of the location town officials had in mind for a cell tower site, before neighborhood opposition scuttled that plan in 2011.
Late last year, the Conservation Commission purchased a large tract in the area — 28 acres — as open space, with no cell tower planned.
The lot that just sold is adjacent to that land, and has no conservation restrictions.
“It’s a site that we looked at, a site we had to purchase the land before we moved forward,” said Tim Peterson, director of business development for InSite. “But in our case, there had to be an interest from a party in order to do that.
“We did close on it,” he said. “… There’s two carriers that have expressed interest in the site.”
Will the neighborhood again fight the tower plan?
“Yeah, probably,” said Jim Belote of Spire View Road, one of several near neighbors concerned about the previous cell tower plans.
“I’ve heard that it’s off the market,” he said of the lot Wilton Bank had owned.
Opposition might vary with the specifics of a tower.
“It depends on where it goes,” Mr. Belote said. “The whole purpose of the Conservation Commission buying this whole piece of property was to preserve the ridge, and beauty of the ridge and the lands.
“And now there’s a chunk that was not bought, and the beauty of the ridge apparently is going to be marred with a cell tower.”
Cell tower construction is exempt from local zoning regulations under state law, but must go through an approval process with the Connecticut Siting Council, a special body created to approve the locations for facilities that are often unwelcome in neighborhoods, including cell towers, power lines, and waste disposal sites.
Melanie Bachman, acting executive director of the siting council, said that while local authorities don’t have the power to approve or deny locations, the process does allow for local input.
“There is a statutory requirement that the cell tower company consult with the host municipality for at least 90 days before they submit an application to the council,” she said.
The carrier would submit a technical report to the town’s chief elected official — in Ridgefield, the first selectman — and other interested local agencies, such as zoning and wetlands boards, might be included.
If a “public information meeting” is sought by local officials, the company proposing a tower is required “to make a best effort” to have it.
The siting council conducts formal public hearings at its office in New Britain, and they must be noticed 30 days ahead in a newspaper that circulates in the area where the tower is proposed, Ms. Bachman said.
First Selectman Rudy Marconi said his office would try to help interested townspeople follow the proceedings.
“If people are concerned, they should contact the state of Connecticut Siting Council,” Mr. Marconi said. “They can call my office to get information as to when meetings are held, and when potentially this application may be heard. …
“There is a public hearing where people will have an opportunity to voice their opinion.”