This is a particularly human story about a couple living in “Little Switzerland” (East Fishkill, New York) who are angry at a company trying to erect a 150-foot cell tower in the middle of their neighborhood, 500 feet from their home. They are concerned for the health of their five grandchildren who play in their yard when they visit. They are also concerned that the value of their home would probably drop at least 20%. Installing the tower would mean cutting down 69 trees. Incidents like these are occurring world-wide. Is it really necessary to erect these “monstrosities” which bring health risks in order to fill a gap in cell phone coverage?
MEETING TONIGHT: Cell-tower builder to get earful; E. Fishkill hearing to join residents, zoners, lawyers
by Nina Schutzman, Poughkeepsie Journal, 13 November 2012 (see also video)
HOPEWELL JUNCTION — Angry residents in the Little Switzerland section of this hamlet will finally get a chance tonight to face off against representatives from Homeland Towers, LLC, the company trying to build a 150-foot cell tower in the middle of their neighborhood.
At 7 tonight, a public hearing at Town Hall will be held to bring residents, the East Fishkill Zoning Board of Appeals, and attorneys for Homeland Towers together. The zoning board has been meeting with them since December of last year, but meetings have been closed for public comment.
For the first time, residents will be able to address their concerns to Homeland, and there are many of them.
“If they build that cellphone tower, it will make me nauseous,” said Gary Mayer, who lives next to the proposed site location of 23 Dartantra Drive. “I’ll see that monstrosity from my back door instead of the beautiful trees.”
Mayer and his wife, Linda, built their home in 1974 and raised their two children there. Now, their five grandchildren often come over to play and Mayer is nervous about potential risks associated with cellphone towers as well as the aesthetic issues.
“This will destroy the view, the property values, and who knows what the health risks might be?” Mayer said.
Typically, a tower can be 110 feet high, but Homeland Towers has requested a 40-foot height variance. The company said it wants to build to fill a gap in coverage. .
Attorneys from the company have said Verizon Wireless will be on the top of the tower and additional carriers can be accommodated below it. Homeland Towers also is seeking a wetland-watercourse disturbance permit.
Mayer’s home is about 500 feet away from the proposed location.
Another Little Switzerland resident, attorney Randy Braun, said the neighborhood won’t go down without a fight.
“We’ve hired experts to check this out,” Braun said. “There’s no need for the tower they’re building, the area they’re targeting is a two-mile stretch on the Taconic (State Parkway) where people shouldn’t be talking on their cellphones or texting anyway.
“It’s not even going to benefit the neighborhoods that are adversely affected,” Braun added.
Inquiries to Homeland Towers were directed to Anthony Morando of Cuddy & Feder, Attorneys at Law, an associate lawyer representing Homeland Towers.
He was unavailable for comment by press time. The firm’s website says Morando is “in the firm’s Land Use & Zoning and Telecommunications departments and is a member of its inter-disciplinary Environment & Sustainability practice group.”
Nina Schutzman: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-451-4518 Twitter: @pojonschutzman