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Millwood Fire Commissioners Shelve Contract With Cell-Tower Developer

The Millwood Board of Fire Commissioners voted on Monday to table a proposed contract with cell-tower developer Homeland Towers.
The Millwood Board of Fire Commissioners voted on Monday to table a proposed contract with cell-tower developer Homeland Towers. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

MILLWOOD, N.Y. -- The Millwood Board of Fire Commissioners has declined to enter into a contract with a cell-tower developer to use a portion of the new Station No. 1 property, at least for now.

The board voted 4-1 at its monthly meeting on Monday to table a proposed contract, which would have allowed for developer Homeland Towers to initiate a study to determine where on the site the structure could be built.

Commissioners expressed wariness about entertaining the contract, citing other priorities facing the Millwood Fire District, along with wanting to avoid a contentious reaction from neighbors.

“There's too much stuff on our plate for us to entertain this right now,” said Chairman Angelo Indusi.

Vice Chairman Alan Schapiro argued that the board should not authorize Homeland to go ahead and spend money for a study when officials would not be interested in the tower, anyway.

“I don't know if that's fair to them."

At the board's January meeting, Schapiro noted that there were preliminary discussions with Homeland. He cited the board's fiduciary obligation regarding the district's finances as a reason to at least consider a tower at that early juncture.

Commissioner Dan Puszka cast the lone vote in favor of the contract. Puszka, who favors having a tower if it can benefit emergency responders, compared allowing a study at this conjuncture to a construction contractor responding to a request for proposals. Puszka also brought up a provision in the proposed contract that would give a 30-day window for the district to terminate it.

David Muratore, who lives near the Station No. 1 site - it is just to the east of downtown Millwood - has spoken out against building a cell tower. Muratore reiterated his opposition at the meeting, citing fear of negative impact to his property value.

“I think millwood has enough infrastructure,” said Muratore, who also argued that a cell tower would be “somewhat of an eyesore.”

The board is the elected body in charge of the Millwood Fire District, which in turn collects taxes to fund Millwood's fire department.

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