Milford officials fighting proposal for a 115-foot cell tower near a residential area

The Connecticut Siting Council will hold a public hearing June 15 on a proposed cellular tower on the rear portion of the property at 1061 and 1063 Boston Post Road.

The Connecticut Siting Council will hold a public hearing June 15 on a proposed cellular tower on the rear portion of the property at 1061 and 1063 Boston Post Road.

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MILFORD — City and state officials from Milford are lining up to oppose the construction of a 115-foot cellular tower at 1061-1063 Boston Post Road.

ARX Wireless Infrastructure LLC of North Haven is seeking approval from the state Siting Council to build the tower, which would have Verizon and AT&T antennas. The tower would be placed within a 60-foot-square fenced enclosure located in the parking lot at the rear of the Post Road property.

State Rep. Kathy Kennedy, R-Milford, said ARX should investigate other potential sites.

“There were several other locations that could have been considered, and we don’t feel that those other locations were vetted enough by ARX,” Kennedy said.

“Where this proposed cell tower is, right behind it, there is a large residential area, and residents are concerned about their property values and this obtrusive tower,” Kennedy said. “This biggest thing is that we are asking ARX to do its due diligence in researching where to locate this tower.”

In written comments to the Siting Council, attorney John Knuff listed numerous objections to the plan, including ARX allegedly “erroneously” assuming that the site it chose was in a commercial zone.

In fact, it is a split zone, Knuff wrote. The portion fronting the Post Road is in the Interchange Commercial District and is currently used by a Mexican restaurant. The rear portion, where ARX is proposing the tower, is zoned as a one-family residential zone and is abutted on two sides by a single-family lot, he wrote.

In addition, Knuff said ARX had not properly vetted nearby alternative sites suggested by city officials, including the Connecticut Post Mall at 1201 Boston Post Road, Old Navy at 1212 Boston Post Road, and the former Howard Johnson’s hotel site at 1052 Boston Post Road.

But Keith Coppins, executive director and founder of ARX Wireless Infrastructure LLC, said Friday that the company “spent 5 months looking at the properties that the city of Milford asked us to look at.”

“We stand by that memo that we sent back to the siting council,” Coppins said.

Further, Attorney David Ball, representing ARX, said the company had reached out to the owners of the three properties and had not received a response. The company also doubted the roof of the new hotel planned for 1052 Boston Post Road could accommodate a 40-foot antenna necessary to satisfy AT&Ts requirements.

“The existing building and the proposed building do not satisfy AT&T’s coverage needs,” Ball wrote.

Ball acknowledged the split zone at 1063 Boston Post Road, but noted that Milford’s tax assessment records and GIS mapping both showed the property as an Interchange Commercial District. He said researching a reply to Knuff’s suggested alternate locations had reaffirmed that the 1061-1063 Boston Post Road site was the best site, “and one which will allow for much-needed improved cell coverage in the I-95/Boston Post Road interchange.

A message seeking comment was left with ARX.

Knuff also alleged to the council that ARX’s analysis of feasible coverage solutions has not been adequately disclosed to the city so Milford officials could verify ARX’s conclusions. In particular, Knuff said, the city had requested that ARX “provide a detailed analysis of alternative methods of providing necessary coverage, including small cells, co-locating on existing buildings in the area, and alternative locations for a new facility, either singly or in combination.”

ARX’s response, Knuff wrote, was that the “target area” for coverage was “the I-95/Boston Post Road interchange.”

Knuff concluded that Milford “respectfully submits that the application cannot be granted” because the city could not determine if the tower placement was in the best interest of state and city residents.

The Siting Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed ARX tower via Zoom on June 15 at 6:30 p.m. As part of the hearing ARX will give a public overview of its proposal. The meeting ID is 991 5590 1827 and passcode is 4dmsJ8.

To speak at the hearing send an email to siting.council@ct.gov by June 8. Public comments may also be submitted by email or regular mail. Those wishing to have their comments entered into the public record must provide their name, phone number and email or mailing address.