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Millwood Cell Tower Nears Approval, Amsterdam Park Area Ruled Out

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – A proposal to build a cell tower in the West End of New Castle is nearing approval after the town's planning board closed the public hearing last week and agreed to draft up a resolution in its favor.

The resolution will be put to a vote on Aug. 7 and will have 50 Hoags Cross Road as the home of the tower. The other possible location at Amsterdam Park was met with resident opposition and board members called Hoags Cross "the lesser of two evils."

Despite some concerns about aesthetics and noise, chairperson Richard Brownell said the board's hands were tied as federal law mandates it cannot prohibit a tower from being built where there is inadequate coverage.

“I think we’re stuck, I think we have to make a decision," Brownell said. "They are two very poor sites as far as I’m concerned and I have to take the lesser of two evils."

Brownell and other board members said they preferred 50 Hoags Cross Road as the location for the towers since Con Edison towers are already at the site and would make the tower less noticeable, as opposed to sticking it in the middle of a park next to homes and the Hudson Hills Golf Course.

During the hearing, Overlook Road resident Mark Wegman questioned the need for the tower altogether, saying he has good coverage in the area. Homeland Towers attorney Tony Gioffre responded that drive test data showed poor coverage and demonstrated the need for the tower.

“We do not have the coverage and we desperately need this facility," he said. "This is an area that is completely under served."

Before drafting the resolution, Brownell expressed disappointment with the process, saying cell tower planning should not be the responsibility of local municipalities. He hoped to engage Westchester County about drawing up a master plan.

"I’m having just enormous frustration now," he said. "This is new technology. We need a consultant to advise us on some of this stuff. We’re essentially taking the word of the applicant while trying to mitigate the concerns of the community.”

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