Elected officials in West Haven are crediting homeowners for stopping a proposed project that would have brought a small cell phone tower to their neighborhood.
Verizon proposed putting up a wireless canister atop a utility pole near the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Morris Street.
But after people who live nearby spoke up, cities and towns will now have more say before similar cell phone antennas can go up in one of their neighborhoods.
"We’re very proud of our little corner of West Haven," said Alicia Glagowski, who has lived in her home since 1979.
Her neighbor Nhan Tran’s yard is just 96 inches away from where Verizon proposed adding a small cell phone antenna on top of an existing utility pole. Tran alerted his neighbors about the plan by passing out fliers.
"I think the radiation, the emissions, the proximity in a residential area, the proximity to his yard and his 1 ½ year old at the time," said Glagowski of the safety concerns she shared with Tran.
In the past year, Glagowski said two car accidents that damaged a utility pole showed the busy intersection is too dangerous for a wireless canister.
"If there was a fallen or dangling cell canister, all involved would be exposed to five times the allowable FCC radiation levels," Glagowski said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. "This was our fear when we first started opposing the poll."
Glagowski and her neighbors got their city and state elected officials involved.
"And I said to all of you very honestly we are fighting a giant, we may lose," Senator Gayle Slossberg.
But the residents relentless efforts, including speaking out a number of meetings, paid off.
"Eventually, they did deny it," Glagowski said.
PURA, the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, has agreed to notify and consult city and town officials before deciding where small wireless towers are installed.
"I’m a happy to say a year later we’re here the laws have been changed," West Haven Mayor Ed O’Brien said. "We will all get notice."
"You did something for every other citizen in the state of Connecticut," Slossberg said. "Together, we made sure our voices will be heard."
The neighbors encourage other Connecticut residents to be vigilant in their cities and towns as more of the small cell phone towers are being installed.