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New Castle Cell Tower Up For A Vote Tuesday

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – A long, frustrating application process for a proposed cell tower on the west end of New Castle may come to an end Tuesday night, as a resolution will be put to a vote during a special meeting of the New Castle Planning Board.

With approval, Homeland Towers can begin bringing a 130-foot tower to 50 Hoags Cross Road . The site was chosen over Amsterdam Park , as multiple board members agreed that Hoags Cross was "the lesser of two evils."

Despite concerns about the site from aesthetic and noise standpoints, Planning Board Chair Richard Brownell has said the board's hands were tied and it must move the application along. He said federal law mandates that local governments cannot prohibit a tower from being built where there is inadequate coverage.

"If you didn’t have that federal law you’d never have a cell tower anywhere," said Donald Weisstuch, former Planning Board member and current member of the Millwood Task Force.

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 have questioned the need for the tower altogether, but Homeland attorney Tony Gioffre said drive test data showed poor coverage and demonstrated the need for the tower.

The Planning 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.

The Planning Board meeting begins at 6 p.m. in New Castle Town Hall with a work session on the Upper Westchester Muslim Society’s proposed mosque. The cell tower discussion is scheduled to begin at 6:40 p.m. Neither agenda item will be up for public comment.

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