It is with both sadness and anger that I read the proposed settlement for a 95-foot “monopine” tower in our cemetery.
Our community worked hard trying to prevent this insulting eyesore from towering over our historic cemetery. The settlement comes after months of Homeland Towers, AT&T and Verizon pouring money into a court battle to defeat the decision of our Zoning Board not to issue a permit. The nearly unlimited resources of these companies ensured their success despite the best efforts of our current village leadership and citizens to save the cemetery.
The telecom industry is used to getting its way, and the forced reversal of our village board’s decision is just another example of its power.
Although, with 5G, the tower technology is becoming obsolete, we see these Frankenpine towers poke jarringly out of the countryside. But this one is different, not just because it is in our village and will hover over our 157-year-old cemetery, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, but because this will be the first tower built in a Scenic Area of Statewide Significance (SASS). There are six areas of the Hudson River Valley that are considered important scenic resources and have been previously protected from this kind of ugly intrusion. When this tower is built, a new precedent will be set, and the areas that have been designated as SASS will no longer have protection.
As a part of the Philipstown Cell Solutions group, I have been shocked and horrified by what Homeland Towers, AT&T and Verizon were willing to unleash upon this village in order to make their money. From recommending the village hire an “independent” engineer (which it did) who turned out to own his own tower, to misrepresenting facts and using manipulated computer programs, and even supplying bogus real estate “research” (paid for by the telecom industry) to prove surrounding property values would actually increase (ha!). Finally, Homeland exaggerated its needs so that we could “settle” on what it wanted. Homeland played dirty to overturn the democratic process of our village.
Tragically, it will not just be Nelsonville’s sovereignty that will suffer, not just our beautiful cemetery marred by 95 feet of metal, not just the children who will stare at this monstrosity every day from Manitou’s windows, and not just our failure to protect our neighbors, whose property values will plummet. We also will have failed to protect what we have been entrusted with: our piece of the Hudson Valley, land saturated with history and unique beauty. It is so fragile in the hands of the corrupt power of the telecom industry.
Eliza Nagel, Nelsonville