A public hearing scheduled for Thursday in Washington Town Hall will review Verizon's application - currently before the Siting Council - for the construction, maintenance and operation of a telecommunications facility at 6 Mountain Road or 167 New Milford Turnpike.
At the hearing, the Siting Council is expected to hear evidence that the public need for the facility outweighs any adverse environmental effects.
The applicant, parties, and intervenors will have an opportunity to cross-examine positions at a 3 p.m. session in Bryan Memorial Town Hall.
The public will be able to make brief statements at a 7 p.m. continued session, also in Town Hall.
Some residents believe if towers are built on sites under consideration in Northville and Warren, there may not be a need for a Washington tower to complete continuous cell phone coverage in the Route 202 corridor.
In April, Washington First Selectman Dick Sears requested the town be named an intervenor, saying the municipality is obligated to protect the "health, safety and welfare of its citizens and the natural environment."
The finance board has authorized $10,000 to hire attorney Stephen Smart and engineer Walter Cooper to represent the town's interests during the hearing. They will review the Verizon application and verify technical information.
AT T has sought sites in Washington for a tower since 2002. It supports the need for a tower in the New Preston area and has also sought intervenor status.
Emergency services personnel in the region have expressed concern about lack of phone coverage in the town.
Smart has said if Verizon can show the need for a tower, the Siting Council is likely to approve it unless the town can offer a viable alternative site.
Before the hearing begins, members of the Siting Council will conduct a public field review of the proposed sites, beginning at 2 p.m.
The applicant is expected to use balloons to simulate the heights of the proposed facilities during the field review, weather permitting.
Written statements may be filed with the council at the hearing or within 30 days following the close of the hearing.
The Siting Council will make a transcript of the hearing and file it with town clerk.
From staff reporter Lynda Wellman