Cell tower company eyes residential site in Naugatuck

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

NAUGATUCK — A Florida-based company has its sights set on land off of Maple Hill Road as the spot for a new cell tower.

According to documents filed with the land use department, Tarpon Towers II, LLC, a wireless communication tower company, plans to build a cell phone tower at 815 Maple Hill Road. The approximately 4.5 acre 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.

The primary mobile telecommunication company on the tower would be T-Mobile, which is working with Tarpon Towers, according to the plan. There would also be space for three additional wireless carriers.

According to the site justification in the plan, the tower is necessary because it will allow for greater cell phone coverage in the borough.

“T-Mobile has determined that homes, businesses and the public cannot reliably access its network in the eastern area of Naugatuck, that there are no co-location opportunities available, and therefore a new facility must be constructed to provide its wireless services,” the plan states.

T-Mobile currently provides coverage to 6.24 square miles of Naugatuck. The proposed site would provide coverage to an additional 2.6 square miles, which would equate to 14.4 percent of the total coverage of Naugatuck, the plan states.

If constructed, the tower would be approximately 0.33 miles away from Maple Hill Elementary School.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Ed Carter said the Zoning Commission has not scheduled a public hearing for the cell tower yet. He said the company will first bring the proposal to 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.

According to the plan, about 12,000 square feet of land would be disturbed to construct the tower and 21 trees would need to be removed for site access and construction.

This is not the first cell tower to be proposed in that area.

In April 2017, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved a contract with Eco-Site out of North Carolina to place a cell tower on borough property in a wooded area behind the soccer field adjacent to Maple Hill. This project has yet to move forward.

The latest plan for a cell tower in the area has elicited some opposition.

“We currently have a wonderful wooded view on our back deck. We are not ready to have that view disturbed with a cell tower,” said resident Kathy McGrath, whose property abuts 815 Maple Hill Road.

McGrath said the tower proposed for borough land near Maple Hill should take precedence and be built over the latest proposal.

“We are not sure what it would do to our property values when you look down there in the woods and you can see a cell tower,” McGrath said. “That was not what I expected when building a house on 4 acres.”

Attempts to reach the DeBarbers were unsuccessful as a number listed for them was not in service.