Borough board backs cell tower plan

NAUGATUCK — A North Carolina company wants to place a cell phone tower near Maple Hill Elementary School.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses last week approved entering into a contract with Durham, N.C.-based Eco-Site to place the tower. According to officials, the tower would be built in a wooded area behind the soccer field adjacent to Maple Hill. The school is off of Maple Hill Road.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said officials looked at a number of areas before settling on that location.

“We looked at several sites in that area. There is poor coverage in that area. This is the least intrusive one to the residents,” Hess said.

The tower isn’t to exceed 150 feet tall, according to officials.

Messages left with Eco-Site seeking comment were not returned.

According to Hess, Eco-Site will pay a monthly fee of $1,750 to the borough. The borough will receive another $200 a month for each additional antennae that is placed on the tower. Hess added the borough can place its own antennae on the tower free of charge.

The agreement is still being reviewed by borough officials.

While the borough has agreed to enter into a contract with Eco-Site, the final decision on placement of the cell tower is up to the Connecticut Siting Council. The siting council will hold a public hearing before any decision is made.

Hess said the siting council often votes the same way as the municipality in these cases.

“I just want to note that if we approve this it is pretty much a done deal,” Hess told the board. “There may be some dissension. I don’t know. If there is and we have this agreement in place, the only challenge is to the siting council, not to the local land use commissions. That’s a difficult process.”

Connecticut Siting Council Executive Director Melanie Bachman said Eco-Site had not filed a petition for the cell tower with the council as of Monday.