Philipstown Has Cell-Tower Settlement on Table

Board will meet Wednesday for vote

By Chip Rowe

Philipstown has reached an agreement to settle a federal lawsuit over its denial of a permit to build a 180-foot cell tower on private property on Vineyard Road, off Route 9.

The five-member town board is scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26, to vote on a resolution to approve the settlement, which would allow Verizon and Homeland Towers to instead construct at 120-foot tower.

Verizon and Homeland Towers sued in February 2018 after the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Conservation Board both denied their application for permits to construct the tower. The plaintiffs claimed the decision violated federal law.

Under the settlement proposed by Verizon and Homeland, they will submit a permit application within 60 days to build a tower disguised as a tree (including branches) at 50 Vineyard Road, and the town will issue the permit within 15 days if it complies with town laws.

A map showing the proposed location for the 120-foot-high tower. Magazzino Italian Art on Route 9 is in the lower left corner. (Click to enlarge)

In the proposed agreement, Verizon and Homeland stipulated they would never ask to make the tower any taller. They also will provide up to $20,000 to reimburse nearby property owners to replace landscaping after construction and $21,261 to the town for expenses related to the earlier permit application.

According to the settlement document, Homeland Towers also would provide space on the tower for three emergency services antennas.

Homeland and Verizon sued the Village of Nelsonville in June 2018 after it declined to issue a permit for a separate, 110-foot tower on a wooded ridge on Rockledge Road, above the Cold Spring Cemetery. AT&T, which would use the tower, also sued Nelsonville. Those lawsuits are outstanding. As part of its negotiations, Philipstown suggested the Nelsonville tower could be constructed at the Philipstown Highway Department property on Fishkill Road.

3 Responses to "Philipstown Has Cell-Tower Settlement on Table"

  1. Carinda Swann   June 26, 2019 at 10:20 am

    It is just appalling that we live in a place where the company and/or person with the most money wins. And this is so people don’t have to drive a couple of miles with interrupted cell phone service? And so Verizon can make more money? And the property owner leasing to them can get richer? It’s shameful. Or can someone tell me a good reason this tower is necessary? And don’t pretend it’s the “emergency” thing.

    Reply
  2. Lillian Rosengarten   June 26, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    This is really awful. Another damn cell tower? They are dangerous and ugly. It should not have happened!

    Reply
  3. Steve Sterlng   June 30, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    The sad fact that TWO more cell towers which most residents of both Philipstown and Nelsonville don’t want and for which there is not a demonstrated need for, are being bull-dozed by Homeland Towers and Verizon / AT&T.

    The reality is that the cell tower industry is no longer fighting for more cell tower density to give us all any better voice communications but rather to dominate video distribution so they can become TV companies — and that business needs more cell towers. And they prefer to build unsightly 120’+ towers rather than use the lower profile Distributed Antennae Systems because it’s cheaper for them and they can make more money faster — no matter how much our beautiful environment here begins to suffer.

    They are solely driven by the land grab of cell tower locations and they will “own” our town if they pull this off. No one will be able to prevent them from building more if they want to after this. Push our local board members to fight for the beauty and legacy of our towns. And they have put up a good fight so far by denying the permits but bigger money seems to be prevailing. So may community members have stood up against this — and put in their own money to fighting the case. Thank you!

    Reply

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