Darien Residents Stand Together To Oppose Ox Ridge Cell Tower

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Kitty Lavin is one of several Darien residents who oppose the construction of a cell phone tower at the Ox Ridge Hunt Club.
Kitty Lavin is one of several Darien residents who oppose the construction of a cell phone tower at the Ox Ridge Hunt Club. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

DARIEN, Conn. – Darien residents who live near the Ox Ridge Hunt Club once again came out to voice their opposition to a cellphone tower that AT&T has proposed building on the club’s property.

The proposed tower would be 120 feet tall and housed in a structure designed to look like a farm silo. Several neighbors have opposed the construction of the tower, saying that it would hurt property values and be an eyesore for the community. Residents reiterated their opposition at a public hearing at Town Hall on Monday night, and asked town officials to do what they could to stop the tower.

“Quite frankly, it looks like an industrial smokestack or a missile silo,” said Kevin Schwartz of Saddle Ridge Road. He said the tower would hurt property values and could potentially cause health risks. AT&T should consider alternative technology such as distributed antenna systems, he said. 

“A silo of this proportion will permanently scar one of the most iconic locations in Darien,” Schwartz said.

Kitty Lavin of Middlesex Road was among those who cited studies that say radiation from cellphone towers increase the risk of cancer. She became emotional as she said the Ox Ridge tower would be a hazard to the dozens of children who live in the area or take riding lessons at the club.

“Regardless of the proven danger of increased risk of leukemia to our children, it’s difficult to imagine a more unsightly location for an absurd silo-shaped utility tower that will rise 40 feet above the treetops and shed a massive shadow over Darien’s largest unspoiled land vista,” Lavin said.

“People don’t move to Darien and bid up property values because they’re seeking perfect cellphone service,” said Doug Reid of Middlesex Road. The Ox Ridge Hunt Club leadership and staff have not acted responsibly., he said “With a seemingly singular focus on generating revenue, they have failed to see the bigger picture and grasp the significance of what they have done by entering into this agreement with AT&T.”

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said she would be drafting a letter to the Connecticut Siting Council opposing the tower. She also said the town is looking into all its legal options to stop the project.

Planning and Zoning Director Jeremy Ginsberg said town officials have until June 25 to offer their opinions on the project, and after that date AT&T will decide whether it wants to formally submit an application to the Siting Council.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will also draft a letter to the Siting Council, and will discuss that letter at its next meeting on June 24 at 8 p.m. in Town Hall.

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Dear Mr. or Ms. just_looking: I would be happy to discuss the issues with you and the non-vocal majority that supposedly is in favor of the tower if they are willing to come forward. So far they (other than one or two people who don't actually make Darien their primary residence) haven't been willing to either publicly express an opinion, either because they haven't come forward or because they hide behind a screen name. This article reported on a public input session where not a single person (including yourself) came forward in support of the the tower. The opposition to the tower is widespread and not just abutters; come forward and I be happy to share that detail with you. Respectfully, put up or shut up.

1. Title is misleading. Darien residents are for the tower, a vocal minority, primarily abutters, are the few that are opposed to the tower.
2. The selectman should NOT write any such letter. When acting as the selectman Ms. Stevenson should represent the town of Darien and not a few friend.