Cell tower talk Saturday

Interested in the proposed cell tower that will overlook the Titicus River Valley? Now’s the time to listen, not talk.

Danbury-based Homeland Towers, which is developing the Ridgebury site with AT&T, is hosting a public information session Saturday in the lower level conference room in town hall at 10:30 a.m.

First Selectman Rudy Marconi stresses that townspeople should not mistake Saturday’s meeting for a public hearing.

“This isn’t something where people can come in and state their opinion,” Mr. Marconi said Tuesday afternoon. “I have requested AT&T and Homeland be there to present site development plans to anyone who’s interested and to answer any questions that may come up after their presentation.”

“This is not a town-sponsored event,” he said. “It’s their game.”

Mr. Marconi will be present to represent the town.

He added that after Saturday’s information session the application will go before the Connecticut Siting Council.

“The public hearing in town will be scheduled only after the siting council’s review is complete,” he said.

Ray Vergati, the site development manager for Homeland, said Saturday’s meeting should last about 90 minutes.

“We are bringing a PowerPoint presentation that will include some photos of the proposed tower and some diagrams of how it will operate in the area,” he explained. “Typically, we make our presentation and then open the room up for any and all questions the public may have.”

He expects to face questions about the tower’s height, what it will look like aesthetically, and why his company has selected to construct it in this area of town.

Last month, Mr. Marconi acknowledged the idea of having an informative meeting in Ridgefield had been discussed for several months, but plans were only able to be put into action when the town received the applicant’s technical report on Nov. 4.

“We’ve discussed the idea of having an information meeting here in town for some time now and this is that opportunity for our residents.,” he said.

He talked with the applicant’s attorney Chris Fisher, who could not be reached by press time yesterday, about a potential date within the next 60 days to set up a hearing.

Under state regulations, town officials have 90 days to review the application after receiving it and have only 60 days after that date to schedule a public information session.

Mr. Vergati said last month that the town has no control over the application from a zoning perspective and that the report filed last week was intended for the town to weigh in from a “purely advisory perspective.”

“This is the standard process,” he said. “The siting council is not involved yet and they won’t be sent the report until after the 90 days is up.

“They’ve been doing this a while and they’re very savvy when it comes to looking at these applications.”

He estimated that it would take the state’s siting council five to six months to review the proposal and then vote whether to pass it.

If it gets approved, then the town would be given 30 days to approve a building permit for the site location, Mr. Vergati said.

This is when a public hearing will take place, Mr. Marconi said.

According to the technical report, the tower site will bring wireless service to more than 5,000 residents in the area.

More than 30 single-family homes are described as being within 1,000 feet of the proposed tower site, including one as close as 264 feet to the northeast of the site.

The 3.19-acre site would be accessed off Old Stagecoach Road.

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  • Kirk

    “If it gets approved, then the town would be given 30 days to approve a building permit for the site location, Mr. Vergati said.

    This is when a public hearing will take place, Mr. Marconi said.”

    This entire article makes it sound like a “done deal” in which the town is helpless … By CT statute this is not the case since the town and individuals have the right to testimony before the State hearings … What is clear is that Ridgefield has no intention of making a counter argument despite this having been voted down by residents and intends to rest on the “done deal” nothing can be done fiction. Sad …

  • Kirk

    Today News Times details the efforts Bethel is making to oppose cell tower in their town … a lot can be done before the State hearings including demanding the tower be relocated or showing that it is unnecessary.
    Why does the town want this so badly? Follow the money maybe? Who benefits?

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