6.12 Telecommunication Facilities

A. Purposes

This Section of the regulations is intended to:

  • Regulate the location and number of telecommunication towers and antenna;
  • Minimize the adverse visual effect of telecommunication towers and antenna through careful design, siting, and vegetative screening;
  • Encourage the shared or joint use of telecommunication towers and antenna
  • Be consistent with the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, as amended;
  • Not discriminate among providers of functionally equivalent services;
  • Not prohibit or act to prohibit the provisions of personal wireless services; and
  • Not regulate the placement and construction of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the FCC regulations regarding such emissions.

B. Permitted Facilities


No Permit Required From City

Zoning / Building Permit RequiredZoning / Building Permit RequiredSpecial Permit Required
1. State-Regulated Tower or Antenna - Any new tower or antenna regulated by the Connecticut Siting Council.R


2. Residential Household/ Amateur Antenna - An antenna used solely for residential television and private radio reception provided any such antenna meets required setbacks and a height no greater than 40 feet above grade or 15 feet above the roof for all uses in all zoning districts.R


3. Residential Satellite Dish Antenna - A satellite dish antenna in a residential district provided the dish antenna:

a. Measures 1 meter (3.28 feet) or less in diameter;

b. Shall not exceed the height of the roof ridgeline; and

c. Shall not be located in a required front yard.

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4. Amateur Radio Antenna - An amateur radio antenna operated by an amateur radio operator licensed by the FCC provided that it is located in the rear yard, meets required setbacks, and is less than 40 feet in total height.R


5. Other Residential Antenna - An antenna listed in 2, 3, or 4 above that does not comply with the identified standards.
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6. Commercial Satellite Dish Antenna - A ground-mounted or roof-mounted satellite dish antenna in a non-residential district provided the dish antenna measures 2 meters (6.56 feet) or less in diameter; and the dish antenna is either screened from public view or integrated into the site design or approved by the Commission by Special Permit.
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7. Commercial Satellite Dish Antenna - An antenna listed in 6 above that does not comply with the identified standards.

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8. Other Antennas on Existing Structures - Any other antenna which is not attached to a tower, provided the antenna complies with all applicable FCC and FAA Regulations.

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9. New Public Safety Tower or Antenna - A new antenna tower intended and used primarily for the purpose of police, fire ambulance, and/or other emergency services or similar emergency communications.

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10. New Tower or Antenna on City-Owned Property - A new antenna located on a lot owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the City of Groton.

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11. Other Tower or Antenna - Any tower or antenna not listed above.


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C. Basic Standards

  1. Lot Area – The lot on which a new telecommunication tower is constructed shall meet the minimum lot area requirements for the underlying zone.
  2. Setbacks –
    1. All new tower structures and other facilities shall meet the setback requirements of the respective zone or be set back from all property lines a distance equal to the height of the structure, whichever is greater.
    2. Guy anchors shall meet the setback requirements of the respective zone.
  3. Height –
    1. The tower and/or antenna shall only be erected to the minimum height necessary to satisfy the technical requirements of the telecommunication facility.
    2. Documentation of the minimum height needed, prepared by a professional telecommunications systems engineer, shall accompany the application for special permit.
    3. Such documentation may include propagation modeling and/or test results.
  4. Color – Towers and other telecommunication facilities shall be a subdued, non-reflective color which shall blend in with its surroundings.
  5. Landscaping –
    1. Landscape buffers, as appropriate, shall be required around the perimeter of all structures, including guy anchors.
    2. Such landscape buffers shall include evergreen trees of sufficient height and planted at a sufficient distance to provide visual screening as determined during the site plan approval process.
  6. Illumination – Signal lights or illumination shall not be permitted unless required by the Federal Communications Commission or the Federal Aviation Administration and the need for such lighting shall be disclosed as part of the application.
  7. Signage – No advertising or signage, other than warning signs, is permitted on any tower or other telecommunication facility.
  8. Multiple Towers – Placement of more than one tower on a lot may be permitted if all setbacks, design, and landscape requirements are met for each tower.
  9. Removal –
    1. All unused telecommunication towers shall be removed within 12 months of cessation of use.
    2. In the event that an unused tower is not removed within 12 months of cessation of use, the tower and associated facilities may be removed by the City and the cost of removal assessed against the property.
    3. As a condition of approval, the Commission may require a bond to insure removal of abandoned towers where the cost of the removal of the tower may equal or exceed the value of the lot on which it is located.
  10. Interference – No existing or proposed telecommunications service shall interfere with public safety communications or with any existing television or radio signal and all applications for facilities under this regulation shall be accompanied by a study which provides a technical evaluation of existing and proposed transmissions and indicates all potential interference problems.

D. Locational Standards for Towers

  1. New telecommunication towers shall not be located within:
    1. Existing local historic districts;
    2. Existing districts on the State Register of Historic Places;
    3. Existing districts on the National Register of Historic Places; and
    4. Along designated scenic roads established under provisions of CGS Sec. 7-149a.
  2. To discourage the proliferation of telecommunication towers:
    1. Shared use of tower structures is both permitted and encouraged.
    2. Applications involving the co-location of antennae on existing telecommunication towers or on other existing structures are encouraged.
    3. Applications for new towers shall be accompanied by documentation that no existing or planned tower or other structure can accommodate the applicant’s antenna or transmitter.
  3. It is a condition of any approval issued under this Section that the applicant shall exercise good faith in allowing other providers to share space or co-locate on the tower, provided that such shared use does not impair the technical level or quality of service and, in the event that a dispute arises as to whether the applicant has exercised good faith in accommodating other users, the City may require a third party technical study at the expense of either or both the permit holder and the applicant.