Fairfield, Bridgeport residents at odds with United Illuminating over monopole plans

News 12's Angelica Toruno met with local leaders to hear more about how each community is feeling after a meeting at the state Capitol.

Angelica Toruno and Robyn Karashik

Jan 29, 2024, 5:32 PM

Updated 174 days ago


Fairfield and Bridgeport residents are at odds with United Illuminating as they await the final decision from the Connecticut Siting Council on whether monopoles up to 145 feet tall will be installed in the two towns.
News 12's Angelica Toruno met with local leaders to hear more about how each community is feeling after a meeting at the state Capitol.
"These easements say they'll sit down, they'll negotiate," said Fairfield First Selectman Bill Gerber. "It's pretty clear that United Illuminating has not been very forthcoming and transparent with their approach to this."
Gerber noted Fairfield residents are most worried about the outlines for permanent easements which would run through several properties if UI's plans were approved.
"The reality is if they take that property, that house will be out of zoning compliance and will likely be knocked down," said Gerber.
State Rep. Steve Stafstrom said the plans for Bridgeport impact that community in a different way.
“What is proposed here cuts straight through our downtown and out through the West End along the State Street corridor," said Stafstrom.
Stafstrom said the city wants to preserve its right to developing sections that could be used for jobs, housing and more economic opportunity.
United Illuminating spokesperson Sarah Wall Fliotsos released a statement in response to the continued complaints:
“While we welcome community interest and feedback on our proposed Fairfield to Congress transmission rebuild project, the dissemination of inaccurate and inflammatory claims around this project have been disappointing. UI’s preferred project design minimizes environmental impacts and financial costs that would be borne by both UI’s ratepayers and residents across New England…we look forward to working individually with the community and town leaders to implement the design that is selected and approved by the Connecticut Siting Council.”
But the Fairfield and Bridgeport communities are standing their ground.
"To ask the Siting Council to delay their decision for a period of a few weeks or a few months so that the community input can be received and incorporated into a potential plan,” said Stafstrom.
"It's the town's strong view that undergrounding is the only really acceptable alternative. We'll see what United Illuminating comes back with and hopefully we can meet very soon in the near future," said Gerber.
The Siting Council is expected to decide in the next few weeks.

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