Study indicates Wilton cell tower's visibility would be 'restricted' to small area

Proposed cell tower coverage map provided by Verizon.

Proposed cell tower coverage map provided by Verizon.

Contributed Photo/Verizon

WILTON — The Wilton Board of Selectmen will decide on the site plan for a Verizon cell tower after a study showed it would not be visible, for the most part, from surrounding residential properties.

The study, done on Dec. 2 by All Points Technology at the request of Verizon, found the year-round proposed tower at 180 School Road would be mostly limited to properties within a quarter-mile of the tower, most of them town-owned. The second visibility test done on the site, it examined the visibility of the proposed tower from two locations on the site, studying the area within a two-mile radius using computer modeling and a crane test, where a crane was positioned at the facility at the approximate height of the tower. A bright red flag was positioned at the tip of the crane to show how visible this point might be from the planned tower height. All Points Technology then drove along area roads and visiting public properties and select residences to chart the tower’s potential visibility.

“The results of the viewshed modeling and crane test photographs demonstrate that the Facility’s visibility would be restricted to a small geographic area,” reads the study released on the town website. “The proposed camouflage design, combined with its relatively low height and surrounding mature hardwoods and conifers will assist in limiting the facility’s visibility to neighboring locations. The proposed monopine design is appropriate in this setting and would soften views of the facility, particularly from residential properties to the north and south.”

The study looked at both year-round and seasonal visibility of the tower, the latter considering how visible the tower would be when local trees shed their leaves. Overall, it found the visibility would impact areas within 1.1 miles of study area, with 43.8 percent of the areas impacted being town-owned sites, including Middlebrook School.

The report’s findings claim the tower’s year-round visibility would be mostly be limited to properties within 0.25 miles of the site and would affect town-owned properties more than residential ones. However, this year-round visibility would also extend northwest of the property, making the tower spottable from the Turner Ridge area and positions of the Rolling Hills Country Club and Ambler Farm.

During seasonal shifts, the study found the tower could be visible from within a half-mile away, including sites extending north to primarily to properties along Catalpa Road, but also portions of Pimpewaug Road near the intersection of Danbury Road and along Danbury Road and Ridgefield Roads near the Wilton Train Station.

The report also outlined Verizon’s plans for the site and how the tower is meant to blend into its environment. The 123-foot pole will be designed to resemble a pine tree to avoid it standing out. The ground equipment will be encased by an 8-foot tall fence. The cell phone provider wants to build the tower on a 109-acre parcel of town land, near a bus parking lot and some municipal and residential development. Verizon will lease the land from the town.

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice briefly mentioned the study at a Jan. 24 meeting of the Board of Selectman and said photos were sent to the residents who requested them. She indicated Verizon would come to the next meeting of the Board to present the two site plan options.

“As you saw yourself from looking at photos, this southern location is a little bit better,” she said. “They’re going to come in with two options for site plan and we’re going to make a decision.”