State To Allow More Input on Cellphone Antenna Placement

State To Allow More Input on Cellphone Antenna Placement

New Haven Register, July 3, 2017

By Mark Zaretsky

The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has decided to update the procedure for the placement of cellphone canister antenna and treat the siting of these antennas similarly to the siting of full-sized antennas.

This will give municipalities and residents more input on where the antennas are placed.

Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, introduced legislation to establish new procedures for cell canister antenna siting, but PURA decided to move forward and adopt the new procedures, precluding the need for further legislative action.

Slossberg and West Haven Mayor Edward M. O’Brien have been working on the issue with a group of West Haven residents since Verizon announced plans to place an antenna in their neighborhood last year.

Residents are concerned by the potential health risks of having an antenna placed near their home, along with its impact on property values. After months of advocacy, PURA elected to deny Verizon Wireless’ proposal to install the canister antenna.

A group of residents on West Haven’s West Shore has been speaking up about the unilateral placement of cellphone canister antennas in Connecticut communities.

PURA, in its first proposed denial of an application of its type, issued a draft decision in February that would deny Verizon’s application to place a cannister-style wireless phone antenna on a pole near houses along Ocean Avenue. It issued the update before the legislative session ended in June. 

Regulatory victory for local governments back to top

By working with their state and local lawmakers, the neighbors successfully advocated for a decision by PURA to give cities and towns more control over where cellphone canister antennas are placed.

In November 2016, the West Haven City Council voted to back the neighbors.

“This is an important victory for West Haven and residents of every other community in Connecticut that want more of a say of what happens in their neighborhood,” said Slossberg. “I applaud the work of these brave advocates. We couldn’t have gotten this done without working together.

“We were the first community in state history to successfully fight for the fair placement of these antennas, and thanks to PURA’s decision, we won’t be the last.”

O’Brien said he was proud to have worked along with Slossberg, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, its lawyer Burt Cohen of New Haven, and the residents.

“The residents know their neighborhoods best and deserve a say in what happens where they live. This decision has ensured that they will have that opportunity,” O’Brien said.