Commission approves radio tower

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TownSealPROSPECT — A proposed 75-foot radio tower with antenna has been approved to be installed at the Prospect Police Department on Center Street.

The Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a special permit application for the radio tower by the Prospect Police Department at 8 Center St.

The commission took that action after it had a hearing on the application that evening. One resident encouraged the commission to approve the proposal, and no one spoke in opposition, according to the land use office.

The radio tower will replace an existing one that is mounted on a utility pole and reaches about 60 feet in height behind the police station, police Lt. Nelson Abarzua said.

The new tower will allow for better reception and enhance the communications for police portable radios, he said. It will be situated adjacent to the back of the police building, and will be for town use only, Abarzua said.

Last year, the police department applied to the Federal Communications Commission to have its own radio channel, Resident Trooper Matthew Comeau said. It has obtained approval for that, he said.

Right now, police, fire, public works, the Town Hall and the Senior Center use the town frequency.

Comeau said police will use its own channel for routine police operations. 911 calls and other emergencies would continue to be handled through Troop I in Bethany, he said.

Abarzua said he would like to see another channel activated for the town’s Community Emergency Response Team.

Mayor Robert Chatfield said the project will cost about $2,500 to $3,000, which will be paid for out of the police overtime account. The cost includes digging a hole, putting in a foundation and transferring the antenna from the old tower to the new one, he said.

Abarzua said Officer Doug Fairchild, a part-time Prospect police officer who owns Fairchild Communications, will install the new tower.

He said the tower was obtained through a donation by an individual from Prospect. The police department will have the tower installed before October, he said.