Selectmen demand to see deal for AT&T tower at Ox Ridge Hunt Club
Published 10:34 am, Wednesday, September 10, 2014
The Board of Selectman has charged town counsel with securing access to the lease agreement between AT&T Wireless and the Ox Ridge Hunt Club, which town officials have since been denied.
"This is our attorney's way of getting necessary information for us to exercise our rights under right of first refusal," said First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.
The selectmen unanimously voted Monday to obtain a confidentiality agreement between AT&T Wireless and the Ox Ridge Hunt Club.
The tower, designed to boost 4G data capabilities in the area, has been criticized from neighbors of the 100-year-old hunt club. Neighbors posted a petition on change.org requesting a meeting with the Ox Ridge board of stewards, who they say have not responded to any requests for a meeting.
The Board of Selectmen has also made "many, many" requests for a meeting with hunt club representatives, Stevenson said. Their requests have not been answered or acknowledged, she said.
AT&T representatives, however, have explained that the tower is needed because of burgeoning network use. They said data use, not voice, is the greatest need because of ever-increasing use, and that service will begin to decline if a tower isn't erected. The proposed tower will be hidden inside a 120-foot red silo that is intended to blend in with the existing barn on the property.
The Connecticut Siting Council will consider the proposed tower, which needs no local government approval. State law requires AT&T to consult with the town prior to filing an application with the council. AT&T had yet to file a formal application with the state board as of Sept. 9.
As part of AT&T's initial report to the town, the communications firm said other locations in town for a new tower were considered, but for various reasons those sites were not viable, according to its proposal.
The Board of Selectmen publicly decided to oppose the cell tower at its June 2 meeting.
"We'll do everything within our legal right to not only research this proposal, but to oppose this proposal," Stevenson said at the June 16 meeting.
The town's legal counsel was charged with investigating the impact of the town's right of first refusal on the property and if it could be executed. Attorney John Wayne Fox could not be reached for comment.
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