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City Council committee recommends Richter Park cell tower approval

A committee of the Danbury City Council has reviewed a tentative lease agreement between the Richter Park Authority and Bay Communication to place a cell tower on their 180-acre property. The Richter Park Authority wants to improve service in case of emergency, and to generate revenue to fund items in the Master Plan.


The Richter Park Authority is submitting three locations to the Connecticut Siting Council, with a preference of the lot located by the maintenance area.  The City Planning Director had some questions, but didn't see anything in the agreement that looks to be standing in the way of approval on the City's end.


The proposed lease is for 30 years--a 10 year license with options to renew.


The proposal for the monopole structure has an estimated height of 150 feet.  It would not be disguised as a tree, and would look like a pole.  Typically lighting is not needed, unless the pole is over 199 feet.


If the entire City Council advances the agreement, there will need to be a public hearing and approval by the Connecticut Siting Council.  The Connecticut Siting Council also needs to approve the lease.


The Master Plan calls for improving hiking trails and tennis facilities and to reconfigure the golf course to make room for a driving range. Richter House also needs a new roof and other maintenance work. The City has helped with weather-tightening on the house, but more work is needed.


In making the case for approval, Mayor Mark Boughton previously noted that the Richter Park Authority has done the responsible thing and tried several ways to generate revenue for upkeep instead of asking city taxpayers for funding. He noted that they no longer give unlimited passes to seniors for golf and offer afternoon specials to bring in out of town revenue. But he says there are less golfers, fewer people have five hours during the day to take off from work to golf.


Members of the Authority say Danbury hasn't given money to Richter Park since 1986, with the exception of a loan.  Richter had a loan with an interest rate from a bank of over 5%, and is now instead paying the City 2% interest.  The other exception was capital improvement money to fix the roof.


The granddaughter of the woman who donated the land to the City in 1968 has granted a partial waiver on the deed restrictions imposed on the City to allow for construction of a cell tower. The deed restricted use of the property to recreational purposes only.

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