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    Sunday, June 23, 2024

    Construction of new cell tower in Noank off the table

    Groton ― A proposal to upgrade the existing telecommunications infrastructure at the town’s police department is being pursued instead of building a new cell tower in Noank.

    Phoenix Partnership, LLC of North Haven is negotiating a lease with the town for land at the police department at 68 Groton Long Point Road, where there are existing telecommunications towers.

    The Planning and Zoning Commission this week found that the proposal for leasing the land at the police department is consistent with the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development.

    Keith Coppins, principal of Phoenix Partnership, said the company plans to lease the land from the town and pay for upgrades of the towers to enable the addition of another carrier, Dish Wireless. Phoenix Partnership will be responsible for future upgrades, as well.

    Coppins explained that Dish Wireless can cover the service it needs to with this proposal. Another group, Tarpon Towers, is no longer pursuing building a cell tower in Noank for Dish Wireless and other companies.

    Tarpon Towers said in documents filed with the town in anticipation of an application to the state Siting Council, which has jurisdiction over cell towers, that the Noank tower would have provided enhanced wireless communications and improved 911 service in this area.

    The proposal for a 155-foot-tall cell tower at 70 Marsh Road in Noank drew criticism from a group of residents who said it would negatively affect property values, views, quality of life, the environment, and the character of Noank. The Planning and Zoning Commission said in May of 2023 that the proposed Noank tower would not be consistent with the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development.

    Details on police department site

    A town memorandum said the town is negotiating with Phoenix Partnership for a 2-year option to lease property where a 140-foot-tall tower and a smaller tower are located at the police department. The proposed lease would have an initial term of five years, with options to renew for a total of 50 years.

    According to the memo, Phoenix Partnership would take over operating, maintaining and repairing the towers, which both need to be upgraded or replaced, and continue to have town and state equipment there. The larger tower would potentially need to be expanded by 10 feet, which would require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

    Town Manager John Burt said the town is getting close to presenting the lease to the Town Council, which would need to hold a public hearing before approving it.

    “I’m hopeful we will wrap up the lease soon, which is a win for the community,” Burt said. “Instead of having a tower along the shoreline, we repair an existing tower at the Groton Police Department.”

    Coppins said any structural upgrades would need to go before the state Siting Council for approval.


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