A group of neighbors along the shoreline are claiming victory after Verizon wanted to put a small cell antenna in their neighborhood and it was denied.
West Haven's mayor and the local state senator said these neighbors did something one one else has done in the state. They took on a large communications giant and won.
With his little girl by his side, Nan Tran and his neighbors put up a pretty big fight to stop Verizon from putting a small cell antenna on a utility pole on Ocean Avenue.
"When we measured it, it was only 96 inches from his back fence and his little girl plays back there. We all became concerned," said Alicia Glagowski of West Haven.
Verizon wanted to put the small cell canister on a pole and eventually others along Ocean Avenue to improve coverage in a dense area that only gets busier during the summer months with the nearby beaches.
The neighbors living here had concerns ranging from radiation to all the traffic on the road and a number of accidents, including one not to long ago.
"It snapped, and if the cell tower was up there, it'd be dangling," Glagowski said.
With Mayor Ed O'Brien and state Senator Gayle Slossberg, the neighbors appealed to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, which has the final say.
"If Verizon, for example, had come to West Haven, had come to the mayor and said, 'hey we want to put this up there,' and they had consultation, the mayor would have said 'you can't do that here, there's too many traffic accidents, too close to the school bus stop, too close to neighbors back yards, where little kids play, it's not the right spot,'" said Senator Gayle Slossberg.
Earlier this month, Pura adopted its final decision, denying Verizon's application, but it went even further.
Now, if a company wants to put up a small cell facility, not only does it have to notify the homeowner, but also the town's top elected official while giving them an opportunity to have a voice and an active role in the application process.
"We were very excited, hopeful, but we're elated," Glagowski said.
The attorney who worked on the case said Verizon could always come back and make another application. The attorney doesn't think it's likely because of the neighbors concerns, their opposition and the traffic issues on Ocean Avenue.
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