Law grants more public input on cell tower locations
At a ceremonial bill signing in Branford, Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday highlighted a new state law that gives municipalities more time and an increased opportunity for local and public input when it comes to determining where cellular communications towers should be located.
Public Act 12-165 requires telecommunications tower developers to consult with towns that may be affected by the location of a tower at least 90 days before applying to the Connecticut Siting Council for a certificate approving the location. The council is a board of nine independent members who are required to evaluate, modify and approve or reject tower applications.
The law also requires that towns be provided with more information concerning why developers are applying for a cell tower in the area, provides towns with more opportunities to offer their own preferences for locations, and allows towns to play an increased role in the council’s hearing process.
“We live in a world where wireless technology is becoming an increasingly important component – some might even say a critical component – of our daily lives,” Governor Malloy said. “The idea behind this bill is not to slow down the process for siting cell towers, but to allow for better input from the community so that we can meet the demand while at the same time take into consideration a number of possible concerns that host communities may have on a given project. I want to thank Representatives Reed and Widlitz and First Selectman DaRos for their advocacy of this legislation.”
“This new law proves you can make progress and still honor and respect the things that communities value most. The law offers additional protections for residential neighborhoods, schools, child daycare centers and scenic treasures, and it allows telecom providers to meet the fast-growing demands for expanded services,” State Representative Lonnie Reed (D-Branford) said. “I am grateful to the Governor for his support, to everyone in my district who fought so hard, and to my legislative colleagues from both sides of the aisle for their input, encouragement and unanimous ‘yes’ vote. It took a while, but we all got it done together.”
State Representative Pat Widlitz (D-Branford, Guilford), who co-sponsored the bill, said, “I enthusiastically thank Governor Malloy and also Representative Reed for her determination to improve the requirements for the siting of cell towers. This new law will not only greatly improve our ability to influence the siting of cell towers, but will also encourage the use of the least obtrusive technology. It’s an important step forward for the protection of our shoreline vistas.”