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Petition No. 745
Northeast Utilities
Prospect, Connecticut
Staff Report
November 10, 2005

Northeast Utilities is seeking to replace an existing 150-foot tall guyed lattice tower with a new 152-foot self-supporting lattice tower.

Council member Ed Wilensky and staff member David Martin conducted a field review of this proposal on November 10, 2005. They were met at the site by John D’Ambra who represented Northeast Utilities.

The existing tower is 150 feet tall, but with whip antennas at the top its overall height is 170 feet. It currently accommodates several antennas all of which are used for Northeast Utilities’ internal communication purposes. There are three microwaves dish antennas that are linked to facilities in Southington and Devon. One of the two whip antennas at the top of the tower is a paging antenna and the other is used to send signals for closing sections of line in emergency situations. There are two dipole antennas used for two way radio communication for utility linemen.

A recent structural analysis determined that the existing tower was overstressed and could not safely support its existing load. The new tower would be structurally capable of supporting the existing antennas, which would be transferred to the new tower. The proposed new tower would be two feet taller than the existing tower, but its overall height, with whip antennas at the top, would remain the same. Northeast Utilities chose a self supporting lattice tower as a replacement instead of a monopole because the lattice tower would provide more stability for the microwave antennas, which cannot tolerate the greater sway to which monopole towers are subject.

The existing compound would be expanded westward by 17 feet to accommodate the new tower. This expansion would necessitate the removal of approximately eight trees. There are two existing equipment shelters that Northeast Utilities currently uses. These shelters would remain. Ed Wilensky asked that they be repainted as they have been sprayed with graffiti.

The nearby area is predominantly low density residential with a few commercial properties also present. There are several homes on the short, dead end Kluge Road that leads to the tower site. But existing vegetation effectively screens this facility from the nearest home.

The power density of the antennas that would be installed on the replacement would amount to approximately 28% of the FCC’s maximum permissible exposure.

The Town of Prospect’s Land Use Officer called regarding this petition to report that the town experiences some drainage problems on Kluge Road that might be attributable to this site. He requested that the Council include a condition requiring NU to work with the town to resolve any drainage problems to which this site might be contributing.

NU’s proposed replacement should not have any significant adverse environmental impacts to the surrounding area.