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Petition No. 735
Nextel Communications
Redding, Connecticut
Staff Report
October 18, 2005

Nextel Communications, Inc. (Nextel) proposes to add a 10-foot extension to an existing 110-foot guyed-lattice tower located at 4 Dittmar Road Redding. This tower is managed by Message Center Management (MCM) since 1996. MCM has responded to allegations that the tower’s height of 110 feet should be 100 feet high. In 1992, the Town of Redding Planning and Zoning Commission approved the replacement of an existing 80-foot tower with a new proposed 100-foot tower. Subsequently the Town of Redding inspected and confirmed the tower to be in compliance on two separate occasions (1995/1996). However, the tower is measured to be a height of 110-feet tall as noted in the structural engineering analysis. This height was also reported to the Council in an AT&T notice of intent to modify an existing telecommunication facility in 2002. The Council’s file does not contain any correspondence from the Town of Redding. While the discrepancy between 100 feet and 110 feet for the structure height is unknown, counsel for MCM and Nextel contend the tower is legal. Since 2002 this tower became a facility under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Council because it is used in a cellular system.

Presently New Cingular antennas (formerly AT&T) are mounted at 98 feet, Velocitia Wireless (data management company) antennas are mounted at 76 feet and 81 feet and an unused whip antenna mounted at 108 feet that extending to 117 feet above ground level.

Nextel proposes to add ten feet of lattice structure to the existing 110-foot tower, reinforce the tower with new guys at 20, 50, and 107.5 feet including anchors and remove the unused whip antenna. Nextel proposes to mount three eight-foot long panel antennas with center line located at 116 feet above ground level. The proposed antennas would not exceed the top of the tower. A structural analysis determined with these modifications the tower would be at 90.1 percent capacity. The worst-case power density at the base of the tower would be less than one percent of the maximum permissible exposure. Nextel would also install a 12-foot by 20-foot equipment shelter within a new fenced 21.5 foot by 30 foot compound.

This tower is located on a 5.58 acre residential parcel of property. The tower stands above the tree canopy within an area of undulating terrain and the base of the facility is well screened. There are no residences in sight from the area of the tower.

Council member Gerry Heffernan and staff person Fred Cunliffe met with Nextel representative Chris Fisher and Hans Fiedler at the site on September 21, 2005. Numerous residents of the neighborhood were present for the field review and expressed an objection to the tower.

Nextel petitions the Council for a determination that the proposed modification to an existing tower and other improvements do not require a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need.