Cell phone service in Easton could get a boost if the owners of Snow's Farm have their way. Irving Snow hopes that Message Center Management will proceed with its application to erect a cell tower on the farm, bringing much needed revenue to his operation.
But residents are divided, with some saying the tower would be a blight on the farm, which was recently added to the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places.
"This structure will dramatically and irrevocably alter the beauty and character of Easton," states the Protect Easton website, a group formed to oppose the Snow's Farm tower.
Former Gov. M. Jodi Rell is also against the preferred site. "In either location at Snow's Dairy Farm, it would eclipse Easton's tourist charm," Rell said in a late 2009 letter to Message Center Management. "It would be nothing short of an eyesore on this New England treasure."
Then-Attorney General Richard Blumenthal noted his concern regarding the potential health risks associated with tower radiation. "This proposed cell tower is poorly sited in a residential neighborhood, and could adversely affect the health of the surrounding community," Blumenthal stated in a letter to the company.
Many residents would prefer that the tower be constructed on town-owned property, which would also bring in revenue for the municipality. First Selectman Tom Herrmann proposed two sites at Veterans Field, which the company is including in its application to the Siting Council. However, the company has made it clear that the Snow's Farm site would provide the best coverage.
Snow's Farm has steadily shrunk its operations because of declining sales. The once 100-acre farm has been cut to 57 acres after the Snows sold parcels to stay in business. The farm has diversified its operations, but the cell tower would give the Snows steady income.
The proposed tower would exceed 150 feet and would be visible from Sport Hill Road. Tower manufacturers are becoming increasingly innovative with concealment techniques, but many residents dislike these gigantic "fake trees" and consider them even uglier than normal cell towers.
"We do understand that many people in Easton do want better coverage," states Protect Easton. "We are simply against the placement of [a] tower on Snow's Farm."
The company originally proposed its plan in 2009 but has not officially applied. It is expected to submit its application to the Connecticut Siting Council this year.
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