March 12, 2008
SITING CELL TOWERS IN CONNECTICUT AND OTHER STATES
By: Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst
You asked whether (1) any states other than Connecticut regulate the siting of cell phone towers at the state rather than local level and (2) the Connecticut Siting Council considers “less intrusive” alternatives in considering applications for towers.
According to the Siting Council and CTIA, the wireless industry trade association, Connecticut is unique in regulating the siting of cell phone towers at the state level. Several states, including Massachusetts, Michigan, and Tennessee do allow telecommunications companies to appeal to state agencies if their applications to site towers are denied at the local level.
The Siting Council does consider, and occasionally requires, less intrusive alternatives to conventional towers. These alternatives include “stealth” measures such as placing cell phone antennas in or on top of church spires, micro cells (placing a larger number of antennas on utility poles serving a smaller area as an alternative to placing the antennas on a taller tower), and using repeaters.