Letter: Cell-Tower Settlement

Apparently, the Philipstown Town Board is committed to accepting a settlement agreement from Homeland Towers and Verizon to build a cell tower on Vineyard Road. We have been to every hearing and meeting on this issue, and we wish to sum up what we have learned.

After in-depth investigation and a multitude of hearings, the Zoning Board and the Conservation Board both said no to this tower. Their decisions are being ignored. We were under the impression their conclusions would be respected and adhered to.

There is no evidence of need for this tower. Philipstown already has 11 towers, and gaps in service are extremely rare.

For almost a year, the Town Board was represented by a lawyer who would not support our motion to intervene in the case.

The most recent balloon test was conducted during full summer foliage that covers up most of the tower. In winter, without leaves, it would be much more visible.

On a personal note, three local real-estate agents have warned us to expect a 30 percent drop in home values for the neighbors of this tower.

The builders and operators of the tower will not accept responsibility for damage done to our road by their construction and maintenance vehicles.

All of this is due to the selfishness of one man who will be leasing his land for the tower, selling out neighbors and (former) friends.

The Town Board says the tower is for the good of the town, but why? Who benefits? Everyone who cared enough to attend meetings was opposed to the tower.

Philipstown has the right to take this issue before a judge and there is little to lose by doing so. We have devoted almost two years to this issue — why stop now, before we finally have a chance to make our case?
Neighbors to the proposed tower can be accused of practicing NIMBY (Not in My Backyard). But the cell-tower companies are trying to make big bucks on many new towers with 5G technology, which requires smaller towers, right around the corner. Vineyard Road will not be the last tower in Philipstown. This decision will affect all of us soon, if not now.

If residents are at all concerned about the outcome, or about the way this issue has been handled, the Philipstown Town Board is planning to approve the settlement agreement on Wednesday, July 24, during a meeting at Town Hall, 238 Main St., in Cold Spring, that begins at 7:30 p.m.

Cali and Roger Gorevic, Philipstown

One Response to "Letter: Cell-Tower Settlement"

  1. Richard Shea   July 23, 2019 at 10:35 am

    The Town of Philipstown has defended the suit brought by Verizon and Homeland Towers for the past 15 months. During that time, we have been told in no uncertain terms by both a federal magistrate and a federal judge that we should seek a solution to the issue; hint hint.

    This does not mean that we raced to a decision nor does it mean that we gave up. The Town Board has never said the tower is for the good of the town. We do not think that. Further, to assert that there is little to lose is also false. We have lots to lose; money and our ability to maintain insurance are two potential downsides.

    We have negotiated the best outcome possible. The tower was lowered from 180 feet to 120 feet; its height can never be raised and Verizon must maintain the road. At the balloon test the tower could not be seen from any resident’s house. Sometimes tough and unpopular decisions have to made. The Town Board did not invite the cell-tower company to Vineyard Road; the landowner, Chris Fadden, did.

    These cases are hard to defend and after attending four hearings at the federal court in White Plains, spending countless hours in attorney meetings and sitting through a six-hour deposition, I have concluded it would be in the best interest of the town to come to a settlement that protects the viewshed and the entire town from financial hardship.

    I realize some residents of Vineyard Road will not be happy but in the interest of all the residents of Philipstown, this is the best decision.

    Shea is the Philipstown supervisor.

    Reply

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