Westport's conservation commission agent agrees that it doesn't look ideal, but told the conservation commission yesterday that the large concrete base that will soon hold a 150-foot cellular telephone tower …
Westport's conservation agent agrees that it doesn't look ideal, but told the conservation commission yesterday that the large concrete base that will soon hold a 150-foot cellular telephone tower at Drift and Masquesatch roads is being built according to plan, despite large amounts of standing water that have regularly accumulated around it since the concrete was poured last month.
"That's a terrible site for construction, but that's the way the cookie crumbles," conservation agent Christopher Capone said at Tuesday's meeting. "But i can't necessarily change what's been allowed to date."
The tower is being built by Municipal Communications II LLC, a Georgia firm that in 2021 was denied approval by the Westport Zoning Board of Appeals to build a tower at the site. The firm appealed the town decision in state and federal courts, and as part of a settlement agreement last fall, the firm was given permission to build as long as it abided by 27 conditions suggested by the zoning board during its review of the process.
When work commenced late this winter, several neighbors complained about the large volume of standing water around the base of the six-foot thick, 27-foot long concrete pad. On Monday, Carroll "Buzz" Brownlee, of Masquesatch, wrote to the conservation commission directly, sending a photo of the concrete pad and questioning its placement.
Noting that construction crews have had to repeatedly pump out the construction site while working, he asked "How can the town grant permission for construction of one or more ancillary structures on such saturated ground?"
"Given the proposed height of the tower, I find it difficult to believe that (the base pad), in such a windy condition, is going to restrain a tower."
Discussing the letter at the conservation commission's meeting the following day, Capone said he shares Brownlee's concern:
"This is a legitimate concern," Capone said. "There's been a high water table this season. The photo is very evident that there is a high water table. I can't deny that."
However, though it looks wet the site where it's going in has been approved, and said surveys of the area done during the zoning board's review of the plan show that the site is not in a wetlands, though wetlands are nearby.
"We determined this line ... so the delineation is accurate in my eyes, and the work was allowed under the ZBA's proceedings," Capone said.
The contractors "stayed within the area of disturbance (approved by the town) ... it's just we had a very wet season."
"I think the contractor, given the circumstances, has done an outstanding job to prevent any erosion or siltation into the wetland adjacent to the project (area), considering how much water they had to pump during this installation."
Capone said he welcomes correspondence from other Westport residents who have questions about, or who take issue with, the construction at the site.