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Public Hearing Granted for Millwood Cell Tower

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- A public hearing for the proposed 130-foot wireless telecommunications tower in Millwood has been set by the New Castle Planning Board after meeting with Homeland Towers on Tuesday night.

Homeland Towers representatives and planning board members landed on a June 18 compromise for the hearing after nearly an hour of debate. Homeland Towers had hoped to fast-track the project and set a hearing for May, while the planning board believed it needed more information before granting any hearing at all.

The disagreement stemmed from Homeland Tower's proposal, which included only detailed reports about 50 Hoags Cross Road as a potential area for the cell tower. Planning board members believed the same studies should have been carried out for an alternative site at Amsterdam Park.

"We think Amsterdam is a viable site," said planning board Chair Richard Brownell. "I don’t know how we can say (the report) is complete knowing there’s another option out there that should be compared."

Anthony Gioffre, attorney for Homeland Towers, said the company has visited the site and it is viable from a technical term, but said he would like to receive public feedback on the idea before delaying the project any further.

"We think it’s extremely important to get the public feedback, especially as it relates to the Amsterdam field site," Gioffre said. "If we have discussions with respect to Amsterdam fields at the public hearing as a potential alternative and the town says ‘well based upon what we’re seeing right now we don’t want to enter into a lease because of the public sentiment,' we’d rather know that sooner than later."

According to Gioffre, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) OKed the Hoags Cross Road proposal, and a 150-day "shot clock" has already started ticking. He said if the proposal is not approved in that timeframe, the process would need to be re-started.

"If you hold us back form scheduling a public hearing, basically we’re not being able to have an arms-length negotiation with the town board," Gioffre said, "Which I think raises some serious concerns for us."

The June 18 compromise eventually satisfied both sides. The date opens the public hearing while still allowing Homeland Towers enough time to comply the board's request to complete reports and provide viewsheds on the Amsterdam Property.

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