Petition targets plan for cell tower

The cell phone tower pictured was added into this photo to simulate what a proposed tower to be built at 851 Maple Hill Road in Naugatuck would look like from Visconti Drive. –CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — Two borough residents have started a petition in hopes of rallying people against a potential cell tower being built off Maple Hill Road.

According to documents filed with the land use department in April, Tarpon Towers II, LLC, a wireless communication tower company, wants to build a cell phone tower at 815 Maple Hill Road. The approximately 4.5 acre residential piece of land is owned by Matthew and Tracy DeBarber, according to land records.

The plan states that the tower will be 150 feet tall and built on a 2,500-square-foot graveled area that will be surrounded by a 50-foot-by-50-foot chain link fence.

Kathy McGrath, whose property abuts 815 Maple Hill Road, and Jan Myers, who lives near the site for the proposed tower, have started a petition against the installation of the tower.

McGrath said they want to make people aware of the plans.

An article on the proposed tower ran in the April 13 edition of the Citizen’s News, but few people read it, McGrath said.

“No one was aware of it. Out of all the people we went to maybe 5 percent read the article in the paper. So, no one knows about it,” McGrath said.

Myers added the petition allows people to have a say.

“We decided to start a petition to give people a voice, especially those who cannot attend meetings. A petition documents residents’ opinions,” Myers said.

McGrath said she went around to neighborhoods near the proposed site to talk with residents and, if they were not home, to leave information. As of last week, the petition had 35 signatures, she said.

“I’d like 1,000. Maybe that’s a little optimistic,” McGrath said. “I want to get as many as possible.”

McGrath knows she has a vested interest, living directly next to the property where the proposed tower would be built. However, she believes this is an issue that everyone should care about.

“We don’t even feel this is a neighborhood problem. I think people would object to the fact this is going on residential property,” McGrath said. “Satellite dishes are an eyesore. If we keep letting this happen it will keep happening on residential property.”

Myers echoed McGrath’s comments.

“We hope that everyone will get involved because this is an issue that can potentially affect any neighborhood,” Myers said.

Before moving forward, the proposal would have to go before the Connecticut Siting Council, which has jurisdiction over where cell towers can be built.

Melanie Bachman, acting executive director of the siting council, said the council hadn’t received an application for the proposal as of Tuesday.

When the council does receive a proposal there is a statutory requirement to consult with the host municipality for at least 90 days before bringing an application before the council, Bachman said. During that time, McGrath and Myers would be able to submit their petition.

According to Town Planner Lori Rotella, Tarpon Towers has not submitted anything to the borough beyond the initial proposed plans received in April.

McGrath said she hopes the petition will show the council and the borough that people are not interested in having a cell tower on residential land and that, ultimately, the company will choose a different site.

“I believe there are other sites available that could have accommodated the cell tower. The fact that it is on residential property and on a steep decline driveway, it is silly that someone would put a cell tower there,” McGrath said.

A message left with Tarpon Towers wasn’t returned. The DeBarbers couldn’t be reached for comment.