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The City of New Britain is currently engaged in a lawsuit to prevent a 5G cell tower from being erected at the decrepit site of the former Israel Putnam School building. According to court documents the suit was filed on January 1st of 2022 against the State of Connecticut Siting Council, which approved “a Certificate for the construction, maintenance, and operation of a 104- foot steel monopole telecommunications facility at the proposed site located at 43 Osgood Avenue, New Britain, Connecticut.”

During the Siting Council’s process to either approve or deny the construction of the cell tower, the City viewed the property as having high potential for historic restoration and adaptive re-use, either for housing or as an assisted-living facility. However, the city has remained concerned that the proposed cell tower on the property would preclude such re-use in the future and result in a blighting influence on the surrounding neighborhood. Other city concerns were related to visibility, property values, and radio frequency emissions.

Then, on November 14, 2020, Arx commenced a 90-day pre-application municipal consultation process by submitting a technical report to the city. While the city responded to Arx, reiterating its concerns in the correspondence, the city proposed the following alternative sites: a water tank on Elam Street, also known as 1780 Corbin Avenue, and Osgood Park, located at 470 Osgood Avenue. Arx responded to the city, indicating that the two alternative sites suggested by the city were rejected by AT & T as not viable and are also located in residential neighborhoods.

The argument that Arx made regarding the viability of those two proposed sites by the city of New Britain does not make sense, when you take into consideration that the Israel Putnam School site is located in a more residential area than the other two locations suggested by the City of New Britain.

While the case is still pending through the Connecticut State Court system, one can only hope the court does not uphold such a poor decision by the Connecticut Siting Council.

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