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DOCKET NO ...

DOCKET NO. 228 The Marcus Group, LLC application for a } Connecticut

    Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for

    the construction, maintenance and operation of a cellular } Siting

    telecommunications facility at 148 Roberts Street, East Hartford,

    Connecticut. } Council

    } November 7, 2002

    Findings of Fact

    Introduction

1. The Marcus Group, in accordance with provisions of General Statutes ? 16-50g through 16-50aa,

    applied to the Connecticut Siting Council (Council) on May 30, 2002 for the construction, operation,

    and maintenance of a wireless telecommunications facility located at 148 Roberts Street, East

    Hartford, Connecticut. The facility would provide added capacity and wireless coverage to I-84 and

    the Roberts Street area of East Hartford. (Marcus 1, pp. 1, 6)

2. Pursuant to General Statute ? 16-50m, the Council, after giving due notice thereof, held a public

    hearing on September 10, 2002, beginning at 3:00 p.m. and continued at 7:05 p.m. in the East

    Hartford Town Hall, 740 Main Street, East Hartford, Connecticut. (Council's Hearing Notice dated

    July 19, 2002; Transcript, September 10, 2002, 3:00 p.m. [Tr. 1], p. 3; Transcript, September 10,

    2002, 7:00 p.m. [Tr. 2], p. 3)

3. The party in this proceeding is the applicant. The intervenor in this proceeding is Cellco Partnership

    d/b/a Verizon Wireless (Cellco). (Tr. 1, p. 5)

4. The Council and its staff made inspections of the proposed prime and alternate sites on September 10,

    2002. The proposed prime tower site is located approximately 705 feet north of Roberts Street on

    property owned by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America, Inc.,

    East Hartford Lodge No. 2063 (Elks Lodge). The proposed alternate tower site is located

    approximately 75 feet west of the prime tower site on the same parcel. During the field inspection,

    the applicant flew balloons to simulate the heights of the towers proposed at these locations.

    (Council's Hearing Notice dated July 19, 2002; Marcus 1, Exhibit I; Marcus 9)

5. Marcus is acting in the capacity of a tower developer to all wireless carriers by constructing wireless

    communication facilities in areas of coverage need. Three carriers, AT&T Wireless (AT&T), Cellco,

    and Nextel Communications of the Mid-Atlantic (Nextel), have committed to locate at this facility.

    (Marcus 1, p. 3; Marcus 4, Q. 1; Cellco 1, Q. 6; Tr. 1, p. 63)

6. State Agency Comments were received from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on

    August 30, 2002, and from the Office of Policy and Management on October 8, 2002. (Record)

    Public Need for Wireless Service

7. In 1996, the United States Congress recognized a nationwide public need for high quality wireless

    telecommunication services, including cellular telephone service. Through the Federal

    Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress seeks to promote competition, encourage technical

    innovation, and foster lower prices for wireless telecommunications services. Furthermore, the

    Federal government has preempted the determination of public need for wireless service by the states,

    and has established design standards to ensure technical integrity and nationwide compatibility

    among all systems. (Telecommunications Act of 1996, Definition of Act, Sections 256, and 704);

    Marcus 1, p. 6)

Docket No. 228

    Findings of Fact

    Page 2

    Proposed Prime and Alternate Sites

    8. The proposed prime and alternate sites are located in the wooded northwest corner of an

    approximately 6.47-acre parcel at 148 Roberts Street in East Hartford, Connecticut. The parcel,

    owned by the Elks Lodge, contains two structures; a meeting building surrounded by paved parking

    areas in the southwest corner and a seasonal use building near the western parcel boundary. The

    northern portion of the parcel contains recreation fields. The parcel is generally rectangular in shape

    and ranges in elevation from approximately 45 to 55 feet above mean sea level (amsl). A strip of

    wooded vegetation exists along the northern parcel boundary and portions of the eastern and western

    parcel boundaries. The remaining areas of the parcel are cleared and used for building or recreation

    purposes. (Marcus 1, pp. 4, 5, 18, Exhibit I)

9. The parcel is zoned industrial, I-2. The area surrounding the parcel is a mixture of residential,

    commercial, and industrial property and undeveloped land. Industrial buildings, an auto parts

    scrapyard, and a self-storage facility are present to the west of the parcel. Office buildings,

    warehouses, an indoor tennis facility, and self-storage buildings are located south of the parcel.

    Undeveloped land is present to the north and east of the parcel. There are 23 properties, including

    four residences, within a 1,000-foot radius of the proposed sites. The closest residential property to

    the prime site is 675 feet to the southeast. The closest residential property to the alternate site is 710

    feet to the southeast. The nearest building to the proposed sites is a storage building located on the

    lessor’s parcel 195 feet southeast of the prime site and 225 southeast of the alternate site. The nearest

    building on an adjacent parcel is a manufacturing/light industrial building located approximately 270

    feet southwest of both sites. (Marcus 1, pp. 5, 6, 18; Marcus 4, Q. 6, Q. 25)

    10. Marcus would construct a 120-foot monopole at the proposed prime or alternate site in accordance

    with Electronic Industries Association Standard EIA/TIA 222-F, Structural Standards for Steel

    Antenna Towers and Support Structures. The tower, designed to support four antenna platforms,

    would be approximately 49 inches in width at the base and 19 inches in width at the top. AT&T

    seeks to locate at the 120-foot level, Cellco seeks to locate at the 100-foot level, and Nextel seeks to

    locate at the 90-foot level. The 110-foot level would be available for a fourth telecommunications

    carrier. (Marcus1, pp. 5, 10, Exhibit I; Marcus 4, Q. 22)

    11. The prime site tower radius would extend by 74 feet to the north onto undeveloped land owned by the

    Town of East Hartford and to the west by 6 feet on land owned by Anthony Biase. The alternate

    tower radius would extend onto the same parcels of land by 76 feet and 75 feet, respectively.

    Relocating the tower so that the tower radius is wholly contained within the lessor’s property would

    prevent the use of the recreation field at the parcel. The tower could be moved to the east by six feet

    to prevent the tower radius from extending onto the privately owned property to the west. The tower

    will be designed with a tower load failure point of 80 feet above ground level (agl). (Marcus 1,

    Attachment I, Marcus 4, Q. 7, Q. 8; Marcus 7, Tr. 1, pp. 24- 26)

    12. Both the proposed prime and alternate sites would include a graveled surfaced, fenced compound

    located within a 7,200 square foot lease area at a ground elevation of 49 feet amsl. The compound at

    the prime site would measure 50 feet by 78.4 feet. The alternate site compound would measure 42

    feet by 79.3 feet. A double row of pine trees would be established on the south and east sides of the

    compound. The compound would contain a 12-foot by 20-foot equipment shelter installed by Nextel,

    a 12-foot by 30-foot equipment shelter installed by Cellco, and a 5-foot by 6-foot equipment pad

    installed by AT&T. The tower and facility compound would be enclosed by a 10-foot high chain-link

    fence with privacy slats. (Marcus 1, pp. 4, 5, Exhibit I; Marcus 4, Q. 9)

    13. Access and underground utility service to the prime and alternate sites would extend from Roberts

    Street through an existing parking lot and along a proposed access road. The access road would be

    paved in order to satisfy the requirements of the town fire marshal and town zoning regulations

Docket No. 228

    Findings of Fact

    Page 3

    regarding access to commercial properties. The twelve-foot wide access road would extend 240 feet

    to the prime site and 215 feet to the alternate site along the west edge of the parcel. The (Marcus 1,

    pp. 5, 10, Exhibit I; Tr. 1, pp. 53, 54)

14. A 12-foot wide by 53-foot long by 3.5-foot deep subsurface detention basin would be installed

    immediately to the east of the proposed site compound. A drainage swale would direct stormwater

    runoff from the paved access road to two catch basins located adjacent to the compound. The catch

    basins would direct water into the detention basin, which in turn would discharge north of the facility

    compound, upgradient of a wetland area. The town requested installation of the paved access road

    and associated drainage system. Marcus would be willing to install a gravel access road, which

    would allow stormwater to percolate directly into the soil. (Marcus 1, Exhibit I; Tr. 1, pp. 19-22, 51-

    57)

    15. The approximate cost of construction and materials for the proposed facility is estimated as follows:

     Acquisition $7,500

     Siting 43,000

     Architectural & engineering 10,000

     Tower 30,000

     Other (includes paving, fencing, etc.) 70,000

     Labor 145,000

     Miscellaneous 5,000

     Total $310,500

     (Marcus 1, p. 20; Marcus 4, Q. 24)

    Site Search

    16. The site search ring is a circular area approximately 0.5-miles in diameter. The size of the ring was

    determined from coverage need information obtained from wireless telecommunication providers.

    (Marcus 4, Q. 11)

    17. Marcus identified and investigated 13 potential sites, including the proposed site parcel. Except for

    the proposed prime and alternate sites, the remaining sites were rejected due to lack of screening

    vegetation, lack of space for tower placement, low ground elevation, and/or unacceptable coverage.

    The tallest building in the search ring area is approximately 35 feet agl. (Marcus 1, Exhibit E;

    Marcus 4, Q. 3)

    18. Marcus examined the viability of Connecticut Light & Power Company (CL&P) transmission line

    structures located south of 111-199 Roberts Street and determined the structures, at a height of 30 feet,

    were too low in elevation to provide adequate coverage and were not structurally capable of

    supporting a power mount above 50 feet agl. CL&P towers associated with a second transmission

    line located south of I-84 are outside of the search ring, difficult to access, and may be located in

    significant wetland areas. Nextel did not consider the CL&P structures south of I-84 since the

    structures were outside of its search ring. Cellco determined the CL&P towers south of I-84 were too

    far east of existing facilities in South Windsor and East Hartford to effectively off load cell traffic.

    (Marcus 1, Exhibit E; Marcus 4, Q. 32; Tr. 1, pp. 46, 88-90, 100)

    19. An existing SNET facility, located on Prestige Park Road in East Hartford and approximately 1.2

    miles northeast of the site was rejected by Cellco since it would provide overlapping coverage to

    Cellco’s Burnham Street South Windsor site and would not provide coverage to portions of Silver

    Lane. (Marcus 1, Exhibit Q; Tr. 1, p. 92)

Docket No. 228

    Findings of Fact

    Page 4

    20. An existing 140-foot lattice tower owned by the Town of East Hartford and located approximately

    1.13 miles southeast of the proposed sites on Sunset Ridge was determined not to be viable by Nextel

    and Cellco due to its high elevation (200 feet amsl). Locating antennas at this facility would produce

    overlapping coverage and interference to existing facilities. (Marcus 4, Q. 10; Tr. 1, pp. 69, 84-85)

    21. Nextel examined the stadium under construction at the former Rentschler Airfield for

    telecommunications use and determined that the stadium site was not in their search ring for the target

    service area. Nextel is not presently pursing the stadium site but may consider locating at the stadium

    in the future. Cellco is proposing to locate at the stadium site. (Tr. 1, pp. 39-42, p. 99-100)

    Municipal Consultation

    22. Marcus submitted an application and variance request to the Town of East Hartford land use

    departments in September 2001. The town’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved the prime site

    location on October 25, 2001. The town’s Inland Wetlands Commission approved the alternate site

    location on October 23, 2001 and the prime site location on January 22, 2002. Throughout the town

    application process, Marcus representatives met repeatedly with town officials to discuss the proposal.

    (Marcus 1, pp. 2, 23, 24)

23.