The last thing it needs, she said, is a 130-foot cell phone tower hovering over the houses. But that's exactly what's on the drawing board for the area.
"Right out my front door, it's going to be sticking up - this big, huge thing," Stauffer said.
Optasite, a Massachusetts-based telecommunications company, plans to lease five acres from Candlewood Baptist Church at 52 Stadley Rough Road to build a steel monopole tower that's as tall as Danbury Hospital.
Optasite has not yet filed a cell tower application with the Connecticut Siting Council, which has jurisdiction over cell towers. But the company has outlined its plans for Danbury's Planning and Zoning Department and has an agreement with the church to use the land.
The Optasite representative working on the Danbury tower project was not available for comment last week, but according to the company's technical report on the proposed project, Optasite plans to lease its tower to Nextel and T-Mobile.
Most residents along Stadley Rough and Indian Spring roads acknowledge that cell towers are important to ensure reliable cell phone use, but they agree a cell tower is not a welcome neighbor.
Stauffer is circulating a petition. So far, she has about 175 signatures.
"My big concern is that I don't think it's going to be in harmony with the area here," said Andrew Alpert, who lives across the street from Candlewood Baptist Church.
Optasite identified six sites in Danbury where it could locate its tower, including at St. Gregory the Great Church and Stadley Rough School. But the company eliminated five of the sites because property owners were not interested in leasing their land.
Candlewood Baptist Church, however, was interested. A message left for the pastor last week was not returned.
Although the city has no say in the process, the Danbury Planning Commission usually reviews cell tower plans.
After Optasite presented plans to the city in May, Robin Edwards, assistant corporation counsel for Danbury, said in a letter to Optasite that the Planning Commission wants the company to explore other sites, redesign the plan to hide the tower, and further justify the need for the tower.
"Even the city doesn't think it's a good site," Stauffer said.
Residents also are concerned about the potential health effects a cell tower might have and the noise the tower's cooling facility would cause.
Barry Blain, who lives on Indian Spring Road near the church, said safety is his No. 1 concern.
"The aesthetics of it are going to be incredibly bad, but there are at least a dozen children in this neighborhood. You don't want to be a nervous Nellie about this, but you'd hate to find out 20 years from now that you are part of case study on microwave radiation."
The tower is so high that Paul Estefan, administrator of the Danbury Municipal Airport, told city planners it must have a light on top because of its height and proximity to flight patterns.
Optasite also is looking to put a 150-foot steel monopole tower on a 90-acre tract of land on Bogus Hill Road in New Fairfield.
The proposed location, which contains two potential building sites, is a largely wooded area owned by the Girl Scout Council of Southwestern Connecticut. The council, which will lease the property, uses it for day and residential summer camps that offer hiking, swimming and field sports.
The Siting Council is reviewing the plan.
Once Optasite files an application for the Danbury tower, the Siting Council will hold a public hearing in Danbury.
"Our job is to balance need versus adverse environmental effects, including aesthetics," said Derek Phelps, Siting Council executive director.
The ability of cell towers to deface neighborhoods has been a contentious issue in municipalities in Connecticut and nationwide.
Residents in Bethel, Brookfield, New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield and other communities continue to demand a balance between their concerns and the needs of cell phone users.
Municipalities do not have jurisdiction over cell phone towers. Municipalities, however, can control antennas. If a telecommunications company wants to put an antenna on a tower or other structure, the city or town must grant approval.
Cell tower companies also are getting more creative. One cell tower in New York state's Catskill region is disguised as a tree. And the city of Danbury recently granted Nextel permission to put an antenna on the steeple of the First Congregational Church on Deer Hill Avenue.
Neighbors in the Stadley Rough area are hoping more cell phone companies will forgo using towers and look to existing tall structures.
"If this (proposed tower) wasn't right in the middle of the neighborhood, our concerns would be different," Blain said.
Contact Elizabeth Putnam
or at (203) 731-3411.