"I just wanted to thank the board," said Homeland Towers attorney Tony Gioffre. "I know its been a long, difficult process.
The application was first submitted in 2010 and was bounced back and forth with the board constantly requesting more information about environmental effects, noise, aesthetics, and more.
"My only observation is that when it started, Tony, you didn't need reading glasses," said Planning Board Member Gerrard Curran.
"I had more hair, too," Gioffre responded.
In the end, Gioffre thanked the board for pushing Homeland Towers to improve its application, and said the plan is better now than when it started.
The site was chosen over Amsterdam Park because existing Consolidated Edison towers at the Hoags Cross site would make the cell tower less noticeable, members said.
Planning Board Chairperson Richard Brownell said the site is less than perfect, but the board's hands were ultimately tied and it was forced to move the application along. He said federal law mandates local governments cannot prohibit a tower from being built where there is inadequate coverage.
Before settling on the Hoags Cross site as the tower's destination, Homeland Towers President Manny Vicente said, the company looked at 37 properties in the area, including every nonresidential area.
Some residents questioned the need for the tower altogether, but Gioffre said drive test data showed poor coverage and demonstrated the need for the tower.
The board was frustrated with the overall application process, saying cell tower planning should not be the responsibility of local municipalities. Brownell said he is not an expert in the technology and is forced to take Homeland Towers at its word regarding the need for the tower.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.