Ask people in Rowayton how their cell phone service is and you'll get a common reaction: laughter. In one real estate office you'll find two neighbors who tell totally different stories. "It sucks," said Peter Slossberg. But neighbor Joe Warren disagreed. "I'm literally three houses from him and I get all my messages, all my calls, all my emails, all my texts," he said.
Slossberg had an "unprecedented" four bars on his phone Thursday, but that was because the William Raveis realty office in the Norwalk neighborhood of Rowayton has a booster on the wall to improve cell phone service. It helps, he said, but not usually that much.
Rowayton's residents have been debating a possible boost for the town's reception: a new cell phone tower . September's meeting of the Sixth District Taxing Commission featured a discussion about a proposal from a company representing T-Mobile to put a new tower on an office building at 137 Rowayton Ave. In fact, it has signed a lease. But the city of Norwalk requested it find another location so as not to "open the door" to other equipment on the roof. Since then it's been a hot topic, and residents are circumspect about their opinions.
"It's a big, big issue," said Commissioner Mike Barbis, who is in charge of the cell phone tower issue. "People want better cell phone service, but they don't want a tower. I bet if you had a vote, a secret ballot vote, people would vote for the cell phone tower. I get that impression."
Even so, a tower is federally mandated. "A company can kind of cram one down your throat," Barbis said. He is negotiating with a new company, which he said seems more "user friendly." The process will drag on.
"It's challenging because you need the right place for the tower to get the right signal, you need to have an equipment shed, you need power, you need a generator," he said. "There's a lot of things that you need, and all those things make noise, take space, are an eyesore. ... I can't believe how hard this has been. And it's much more challenging than you would think."
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