Spotty cell phone service in the Town of Lewisboro has been a persistent problem for many of its 12,400 residents.
Verizon Wireless signed a lease with the town in December 2009 to construct a 120-foot-high tower on two acres of the former Lewisboro Ski Slope, but the approval process moved at a snail's pace due to the need for state legislation since the site is designated as parkland.
In the meantime, Supervisor Charles Duffy and Councilman Peter DeLucia, working with state Assemblyman Robert Castelli (R-Goldens Bridge), found a way to provide service to some residents with an 80-foot-high Cell on Wheels.
"I think it's affecting home values," Duffy said. "We're back to like 60 years ago. Emergency services has to go around and knock on doors."
While the six months the Cell on Wheels has been in place has been somewhat beneficial, both John Jay High School and the Middle School campus remains without service. What the trial period has revealed, according to Duffy, is Verizon needs to erect a 160-foot-high tower to reach more users.
"You want to have the height so all the carriers can be on there," DeLucia said.
Verizon, which pays Lewisboro $2,000 monthly for the Cell on Wheels, is currently before the town's Zoning Board of Appeals seeking a variance for the taller tower. If approved, Lewisboro will receive $80,000 annually from Verizon.
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