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    Monday, July 22, 2024

    Groton Town Council approves cell tower lease at police department site

    Groton ― The Town Council on Tuesday approved a land lease agreement with North Haven-based Phoenix Partnership, LLC, which plans to use, upgrade and maintain an existing communications infrastructure at the town’s police department at 68 Groton Long Point Road.

    After Tarpon Towers’ earlier proposal to build a new cell tower on Marsh Road in Noank was met with opposition, Phoenix Partnership said this spring that it plans to instead upgrade a cell tower at the police department site and add Dish Wireless to the tower.

    Capt. James Bee of the Town of Groton Police Department said Wednesday that the existing 140-foot-tall cell tower on site at the police department serves AT&T and Verizon, as well as a wireless telephone link to Fishers Island, and the police, fire and EMS radio. A smaller tower has additional antennas for fire and EMS, ham radio and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

    Bee said Phoenix Partnership plans to extend the 140-foot tower by 10 feet and take over all maintenance of both towers and assume any liability.

    For example, if the lights go out and the town doesn’t fix them, the town could be subject to fines, Bee said. Every time the lights go out, the town has to hire a crew to fix them.

    According to a town document, the town received $23,508 in rent from facility subtenants in Fiscal Year 2023. Under the agreement, the town will receive 85% of the rent, along with 60% of rent from new subtenants, other than Dish Wireless, and any rent increases Phoenix Partnership negotiates.

    The document states that Phoenix Partnership has a $1,000 purchase option for up to a year, with the potential to extend it for up to another year for another $1,000. The agreement, once it starts, is initially for five years, and it can be renewed for an additional nine five-year terms.

    Bee said the small rent reduction to the town is being made up in the improvements Phoenix Partnership will make and the cost savings from the company assuming liability and maintenance.

    Police Chief Louis J. Fusaro Jr. said the structural enhancements that will be made to the tower will save taxpayers the substantial expense for improvements that would have been necessary in the coming years.

    k.drelich@theday.com

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