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State House Passes Bill Limiting Cell Tower Sites

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – A bill that would ban wireless cellphone towers from being placed within 250 feet of schools or commercial day care centers in Connecticut was passed unanimously by the state House last week.

For the fourth consecutive year, Greenwich state Reps. Lile Gibbons, Livvy Floren and Fed Camillo all sponsored An Act Concerning the Siting Council (HB5272), which is now headed to the state Senate.

“Through this legislation, the state of Connecticut will properly prioritize the safety of children, students, and adults who work in schools and child care centers and allow the local officials to have input when siting cell towers in the vicinity of these buildings,” Floren said in a statement.

Under the bill, towers could be placed within 250 feet of a school if the location was acceptable to the town's chief elected official or the Siting Council finds that the tower would not have a serious adverse effects on the aesthetics of the area where the schools or commercial day care facilities are located.

Camillo sits on the environment committee and last year insisted that child care centers also be included in the language in addition to schools. It was in the final version of the bill that was approved.

“Connecticut will lead the way in planning and development by considering health and safety concerns when placing cell towers near schools or day cares,” Camillo said in a statement. “It is a common sense and precautionary measure, one that will give each of the 169 municipalities some input when these applications are filed."

The bill would require cell tower applicants to work with municipalities in the preapplication process and extends the municipality consultation process from 60 days to 90 days. It also would require the applicant to the most up-to-date technological designs to minimize aesthetic and environmental impacts.

"The latest transmission technologies, safety standards and neighborhood concerns, including the proximity of schools and child care centers, are top concerns for our communities,” Gibbons said in a statement. “The Siting Council should consult with the municipality’s leadership when determining where to put cell towers.”

The bill would also permit the municipality to initiate civil action against any party that intentionally omits or misrepresents facts in the process.

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