A Ridgefield neighborhood could soon see improved cell service

Homeland Towers’ regional manager Ray Vergati visited the Board of Selectmen Wednesday night to propose the construction of a cell tower somewhere on the Ridgefield Golf Course.

Homeland Towers’ regional manager Ray Vergati visited the Board of Selectmen Wednesday night to propose the construction of a cell tower somewhere on the Ridgefield Golf Course.

Screen capture / ridgefieldct.org

RIDGEFIELD — The Board of Selectmen has moved forward with a proposal that will bring increased cellular service to the town’s Ridgebury neighborhood.

Homeland Towers’ regional manager Ray Vergati visited the board last week to propose the construction of a cell tower somewhere on the Ridgefield Golf Course.

In 2015, the company collaborated with AT&T to build a 150-foot cell tower in the woods near the intersection of Old Stage Coach and Aspen Ledges roads on the north end of town. The proposal received mixed reviews from residents.

Frank Sergiovanni, the general manager of the golf course, was also present at the meeting. He said cell service is currently spotty in the Ridgebury area but that the proposed tower could improve it.

“Nobody can receive or send calls anywhere in that neighborhood or on the golf course,” he added. “I’ve been there 21 years and this is essentially a paperweight.”

Homeland Towers is proposing to build a unipole either behind the maintenance shed or near the parking lot, pending a series of “balloon floats.” During these tests, balloons are floated to tentative heights and capture images from different angles to “paint a picture of where the facility would be seen and not seen,” Vergati said. He added that the structure would serve cell carrier users within a mile and a half radius.

The structure’s ultimate height would be determined by its location due to a difference in elevation between the two sites. If it were to be built by the shed, the tower would be between 120 and 130 feet tall, but if it were built by the parking lot, the tower would only be between 60 and 70 feet tall, Vergati said.

The unipole’s design is favorable since its cables and antennas are located within the structure. Homeland Towers would also develop a fenced compound around the tower, which would be softened by landscaping, Vergati added.

Vergati said the golf course is an ideal location for a cell tower since it presents a large parcel of land away from abutting homes. Sergiovanni noted that if the structure were to be built behind the maintenance shed, the closest residential home, on neighboring Benson Road, is located 600 yards away.

The presentation yielded consensus from the board. Homeland Towers will now draft a formal lease agreement, which will require approval from voters via a public hearing and town meeting.

It must also be considered by the Connecticut Siting Council. The project can only be taken through the state-level zoning process once a carrier expresses interest in the infrastructure, Vergati said. He added that the tower would also be available to Ridgefield’s public safety departments.

On the revenue side, Homeland Towers is offering the town $2,000 a month, or 25 percent of the structure’s gross rents.

“Seems to me like it’s a good idea,” Selectwoman Barbara Manners said.

alyssa.seidman@hearstmediact.com