LEWISBORO, N.Y. – The proposed construction of a cell tower in Goldens Bridge has raised the ire of homeowners who say the structure will mar their neighboring landscape and lower their property values.
Homeland Towers, LLC and New Cingular Wireless proposed the construction a 147-foot tower on the Coyle-family property at 117 Waccabuc Road (Route 138). They are currently engaged in the permit process and at a public hearing held Monday night at the Town House, several property owners told the Planning Board they are opposed to the project.
“The town has the responsibility to investigate every option (besides a cell tower),” said Al Cava. “A monopole in the middle of a forest preserve seems a little strange to me.”
Janet Baldasare, Cava’s wife, said a tower that rises above the tree canopy would be a blight on the landscape and make it difficult for them to sell their house.
“We bought this house seven years ago because of how beautiful it was,” she said. The construction of the tower “would have a devastating effect on how we feel about it. No one would want to buy it.”
Clark Landis said the town was not taking enough time to research other options to improve cell service in the area.
“This might be the quickest solution,” he said, “but it is not the best solution.”
Ed Brancati said he believed it was better to construct cell towers on public land rather than private land, adding that “on the off chance that we go beyond this technology, please make a provision (in the permit) that this tower be taken down.”
The proposed tower originally came before the town in 2010 and has received variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Homeland Towers is waiting for a permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It is also seeking a special use permit and a wetland activity permit from the Planning Board.
Christopher Fisher, an attorney for Cuddy & Feder in White Plains, who represents the applicants, told the Board that the cell tower would significantly improve service on Route 138, from Route 121 to Interstate 684. He said the problem in Lewisboro is not capacity like in urban areas, but rather coverage.
“Carriers here are still trying to achieve what they started 20 years ago – basic coverage,” he said. “This tower is needed because of Lewisboro’s terrain. It will have all the bells and whistles such as 4G and LTE.”
“We are attempting to respond to the comments we have received from the public,” he said. “A majority of the comments have been addressed. We are now waiting for the DEC to make sure we are on the same page as far as wetland mitigation is concerned.”
The Planning Board decided to keep the public hearing open until the applicants hear from the DEC and adjourned the matter until Oct. 23.