Slossberg and West Haven Residents Testify for Fair, Safe Placement of Cell Phone Canister Antennas
Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford) testified today in support of Senate Bill 536, a bill she introduced to ensure that the safety of community residents is considered when placing cell canister antennas. Slossberg has been working on this issue with a group of West Haven residents since Verizon announced plans to place one of these antennas 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.
“This is a matter of fairness for people in communities like West Haven currently who have no recourse against companies placing these antennas in their neighborhoods,” said Senator Slossberg. “The West Haven residents raised a number of concerns, but been consistently denied a voice in the process. This new law puts the people of Connecticut on equal footing with telecommunications companies when making decisions that will impact the communities where people live and work.”
Slossberg’s bill would establish a state-wide plan and process for siting these small cell canister antennas, similar to the process that currently exists for cell phone towers. Critical to this process would be participation by the municipality where an antenna may be placed, along with members of the community.
This process would give community members and elected officials a voice in the siting of these small canister antennas. Additionally, following the passage of this bill, a moratorium would be placed on all pending canister antenna placements until a state-wide siting plan and process can be approved and implemented.
West Haven Mayor Edward M. O’Brien submitted testimony as well, echoing the concerns of Senator Slossberg and his constituents that municipalities and residents are not consulted in regards to the placement of these antenna canisters and that legislative action is needed to include them in the process. “The FCC estimates that there will be hundreds of thousands of small cell facilities constructed over the next several years. The legislature needs to step in and clarify the standards before any more of these are constructed. Therefore, I urge this committee to ensure this legislation includes municipalities in the planning process from the beginning and then favorably reports SB 536.