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Petition No. 586
SpectraSite Communications, Inc.
Columbia, Connecticut
Staff Report
November 12, 2002

On October 16, 2002 Connecticut Siting Council (Council) member Colin C. Tait with Robert Mercier of Council staff met SpectraSite Communications, Inc. (SpectraSite) representatives Julie Donaldson Kohler, Jason Catalini, David Trace, and Ray Vergati, and Town of Columbia Zoning Enforcement Official Carl Fontneau at 330 Middletown Road in Columbia for a field review of this petition. SpectraSite is petitioning the Council for a declaratory ruling that no Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) would be required for the extension of an existing 120-foot monopole owned by SpectaSite.

SpectraSite proposes to install a 30-foot extension on an existing 120-foot monopole to accommodate the needs of AT&T Wireless PCS, LLC (AT&T). AT&T seeks to install six panel antennas on the extension at a centerline height of 150 feet above ground level (agl). The total height of the structure would be approximately 153 feet agl. AT&T would install equipment cabinets on a concrete pad within the existing compound.

Propagation models indicate adequate coverage on Route 66 between the proposed site and AT&T site CT-861 in Columbia with antennas located at 150 feet agl. According to the models, a coverage gap of approximately 0.25 miles would result if antennas were placed at the proposed site at 130 feet agl.

The cumulative worst-case power density for the telecommunications operations at the site has been calculated to be 18.7% of the applicable standard for uncontrolled environments.

The tower is located in the northeastern portion of a 26-acre wooded parcel. Adjacent properties include five residential properties, privately owned and town owned vacant land and the town recreation area.

The town issued a special permit for the construction of the facility on January 11, 2000. The permit limited the height of the structure to 120 feet. The Town contends that Council jurisdiction regarding modifications to municipally approved towers is unclear and requests that SpectraSite file a special permit application for the proposed extension. In addition, the Town is requesting a public hearing in Columbia to allow for a discussion on Council jurisdiction and the merits of the application.

SpectraSite contends that the proposed modification of the structure would not cause a substantial adverse environmental impact and would prevent the construction of a new tower in the area