— The town council is requesting intervenor status for a proposed 150-foot-high communications tower in South Glastonbury.
Eco-Site Inc. and T-Mobile Northeast recently submitted the plans to the Connecticut Siting Council for the tower, which they propose locating on the western end of the 177-acre Cavanna Farm, a popular pick-your-own berry and cut-your-own Christmas tree farm.
The town's status as an intervenor will allow it to become part of the application process and give oral and written testimony and cross-examine witnesses.
Town Manager Richard Johnson said the intervenor status "doesn't compel the town council to any future action."
"But it does protect the interests if the council wants to submit formal testimony up to and during the hearing," he said.
The town council held an informational hearing on the proposal in August and a balloon representing the height of the tower was flown in July. As part of the Siting Council application, two public hearings are tentatively scheduled at 3 and 7 p.m. on Jan. 11. A balloon will be floated from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day representing the height of the tower.
Although the farm is on Woodland Street, the tower would be located close to Matson Hill Road near the Blueberry Lane development, Rose's Berry Farm and Matson Hill open space. The Siting Council approves all tower proposals across the state and has jurisdiction when it comes to locating towers.
Daniel M. Laub, attorney for the tower companies, said the use of mobile devices and data is "growing exponentially" and has "put a lot of stress on the network." He said the Cavanna tower would serve an area that "doesn't have much coverage or no coverage at all." He noted up to four carriers could be located on the tower and 45-55 homes in the area would have views of at least a portion of the tower.
In 2015, the town sought intervenor status to fight a proposed 120-foot-high tower on a farm along Candlewood Road. The council also received intervenor status to fight a 110-foot-high tower proposed on Dayton Road and 180-foot-high tower on Raymond Road in South Glastonbury. In each case, the proposals never made it to the Siting Council application stage after a large public outcry.