Ltr to Ed: Why a 150-foot cell tower on Armonk Road should not go forward

Planning Board conducts informal hearing for tower proposal at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 6

View from a driveway directly across the road; red dot in center of photo (just above phone wires) is balloon marking height of proposed cell tower
Monday, December 16, 2013
by Tej Anand

Verizon/Homeland has filed an application for installing a 150-foot cell tower on 620 Armonk Road (NY Route 128) in New Castle. The proposed cell tower will be directly behind the tennis courts of the Twin Oaks Swim & Tennis Club (See the map below).  The Homeowners Association of Whippoorwill Lake Road has put together a petition asking the New Castle Planning Board to deny Verizon’s application.  We have put forward ten reasons why constructing a cell tower at this location is incompatible with its historical and natural surroundings, and will impact the quality of life and the property values of surrounding neighborhoods.

In particular, it violates the Town code 69-430 (14) which discourages building wireless communications services facilities within 2500 feet of a landmark.  On September 24, 2013, the Town Board officially has designated the Sarles-Archer Family Graveyard at 442 Armonk Road, 0.4 miles or 2112 feet from 620 Armonk Road, as a New Castle Landmark.  Approving Verizon’s application at this location will set a precedent that will put in peril the protection that is afforded all historical landmarks in our community.

Furthermore, Verizon is not utilizing its outstanding permits such as those located at 50 Hoags Cross Road and Chappaqua Crossing. Verizon Wireless should be required to first construct towers at its permitted locations, and then fully re-evaluate service coverage, before an additional permit for a brand new location is considered.

The Planning Board will be reviewing Verizon’s application on its Tuesday December 17th meeting.  We are asking the New Castle residents to attend the meeting, and sign the attached petition. You may find the online petition by clicking HERE


Regards,

Tej Anand,

Whippoorwill Lake Road Homeowners Association Board Member


Comments(57):
We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

Stop all cell towers from coming into New Castle…...PERIOD!!!! We do not need any cell towers to be constructed in any of the four corners of New Castle.

By STOP on 12/15/2013 at 10:53 pm

Homeland has approval for Hoags Cross pretty recently yet it seems as if they have not built or even started construction on a cell tower there. As I remember it, their pitch was the cell tower is necessary for emergency responders.  Does anybody know why they want approval for yet another if they haven’t constructed the first?

By Robin Murphy on 12/16/2013 at 6:55 am

Does the proposed tower have to be 150 feet tall - or could a tower of 100 feet work almost as well - and be much less of a nuisance to the neighbors?  I am not in favor of building the tower near a residential neighborhood, but if one must be built, then let’s minimize the negative impact on the neighbors by making sure it as unobtrusive as possible.

By B on 12/16/2013 at 7:09 am

New Castle needs to determine what is best for our community without being strong armed by corporations looking for financial gains.  Who is protecting us?

By KL on 12/16/2013 at 9:09 am

This is a smaller nimby version of chappaqua crossing.  The cell tower is needed in that dead zone.  Nimby, nimby, nimby…... Sigh .  The previous writer expresses the anti chappaqua crossing sentent…. Stop progress Nd stop the world.  The proposed tower site is invisible except for a few homes.  Classic Nimby

By Nimby on 12/16/2013 at 11:13 am

By all means stop all progress of any shape or form

By Sheesh on 12/16/2013 at 11:52 am

West End needs more cell coverage

By No service on 12/16/2013 at 11:54 am

I object to the cell tower.  I am a resident of the grave yard.  My six foot under view of heaven will be eternally obstructed because that is the way my body is facing.

By Cotton Mather on 12/16/2013 at 11:56 am

funny that Team New Castle has been silent on both this and the Legionaries property - because they’re not in Lisa Katz’s neighborhood.  More proof positive that they’re in this only for their own self-interests.

By a crying shame on 12/16/2013 at 12:01 pm

NIMBY,  The proposed site is very visible to many of us and will greatly impact the aesthetics of our area.  Many of us are concerned about property values and the beauty of our community. Are you going to compensate me for my loss in property value?  We also worry about potential health issues.  The jury is still out on the effects of cell towers, but studies show the greatest risk is within a half mile radius.  Why would anyone put themselves or their families in a potentially dangerous situation?  Now put down your phone and enjoy the view while we still have it.

By KL on 12/16/2013 at 12:30 pm

Robin, to answer your question consider the following:
Companies like Homeland Towers, Clearwire Tower, and Crown Castle are wireless infrastructure companies that secure land and construct cell towers that carriers like Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T use for their transmission. Clearwire has an estimated 15,000 to 18000 cell tower sites.  Homeland Towers website lists 4000 such sites. 
According to http://www.fiercewireless.com on September 28, 2012, Crown Castle entered a tower leasing agreement with T-Mobile. The deal leases 7,200 wireless towers to the company for a term of 28 years in exchange for $2.4 billion. On October 20, 2013, Crown Castle entered a tower leasing agreement with AT&T Mobility. The deal leases 9,700 wireless towers to the company for a term of 28 years in exchange for $4.85 billion.
So towers are big business. Up to 6 colocation antenna can go on a tower such as the one proposed in Armonk road, meaning Homeland/Verizon can turn around and lease those to 6 carriers for big bucks while paying $1500 per month + 20% of their gross rent to Alfredo Landscaping for the use of land. In short, it is like a Monopoly game.  The more tower sites you secure, the more rent you can collect and more strategic chips you have to play with.

By SV on 12/16/2013 at 2:10 pm

Thank u for the 12. 17. Invitation.  I will attend with 4 neighbors who support the almost invisible tower.  Thank u for letting us know that we can get it !!!

By Dear anand on 12/16/2013 at 3:01 pm

Our residents are educated and know silliness when they see it . We luv non Hypocrisy.
Maybe Pocahontas would make the point better ?  I still laughing

By Cotton Mather? on 12/16/2013 at 3:50 pm

This town is anti-development.  Can’t build anything without fighting.  Let Residential taxes continue to fund the town and the town is going to go broke…hows the reserve balance looking these days?  Without commercial development taxes will rise and/or services will suffer.

By Lollipop anyone? on 12/16/2013 at 4:49 pm

To answer Robin-the owner of the Hoag rd property has multiple violations on his property.  Until he cleans it up, homeland towers is in limbo.  The company knew this way back when.
Also, we do have to deal with federal law.  Chappaqua Crossing has multiple cell antennas
on top of bldg 500.

By LBG on 12/16/2013 at 7:23 pm

The map shows that the tower is in the woods. What is the actual number of homes that will see it?

By Sorry I don't see it yet on 12/16/2013 at 8:23 pm

Good question, KL!  Who is looking out for our interests?

By Developers and now corporations on 12/16/2013 at 10:40 pm

Lolli-

How much do you think this cancer tower will bring in to the town?

 

By To Sucker, think again on 12/16/2013 at 10:48 pm

i find the responses to this comical. “will you compensate me for my loss in property value?” can you even see the tower from your property? given where this tower is and how much dense woods there is around there, i suspect few people will see this tower.

this probably comes from the same people that desperately want a whole foods in their neighbors backyard. We all enjoy and in the cases of emergencies, need cellular communications. There is a huge black hole between the triangle formed by the southern end of Mt Kisco, Armonk & Chappauqua, this will close that hole.

I vote yes!

By NIYB on 12/17/2013 at 6:20 am

Anyone who feels that his home has lost value for any reason, market value, chap crossing or cell tower has the absolute right to seek to reduce real estate taxes.  Stop crying and start “grieving” your tax assessment.  .......and you can call your grave site neighbor , cotton Mather as a witness.

By Dear lost value worrier on 12/17/2013 at 9:38 am

We need to eliminate the dead cell zone

By I agree on 12/17/2013 at 9:40 am

Verizon has a permit at Chappaqua Crossing and is not using it.  They show a gap in service on Annandale.  This tower would not close that gap.  Shouldn’t they use the permits they already have and see what gaps still exist in coverage then determine where additional antenna are needed?  Shouldn’t they be forced to collocate?  Or should we just blindly put up these eyesores?
No, I do not want a Whole Foods at Chappaqua Crossing.  I do not believe that our roads can handle it and I wouldn’t want to burden the neighbors there either.  I also don’t think it is a great idea to set up a second shopping district and having downtown suffer. 
Yes, I can see the potential tower from my home and my neighbors have a far worse view of it.  I believe in supporting my neighbors.  Whippoorwill is surrounded by woods and many people reside in the area. It will effect our property values.  Mature trees fall all the time and it is already visible.  How can you possibly comment if you don’t know where I live?  People driving down Armonk Rd will have a full view of the facility in all it’s glory.  Won’t that be an amazing view for anyone heading into New Castle? Just what we want to be known for.  You can see photos at the Town Meeting tonight.
I wish I found your comments as entertaining.

By KL on 12/17/2013 at 11:17 am

NewCastle should ban the use of these devices that are cooking our brains. No cell phones allowed!  Did you know power lines emit EM radiation. NewCastle should ban power lines. Did you know that roads and fossil fuel monsters destroy our pristine existence. Get rid of them!

By No Cell phones on 12/17/2013 at 1:52 pm

You all can be compensated through real estate tax reductions, if, in fact, priority values are reduced in any measured way.  By the way,  how do you know how it will look if it is not yet built?  What is the exact number of homes affected?

By Dear kl on 12/17/2013 at 6:43 pm

I expect you and all your family members to be the first in line to turn in your cell phones, since you object to them so strongly..  Of course you won’t do that.

By Dear no cell phone on 12/17/2013 at 7:05 pm

The site is visually bounded by a lake and whippoorwill park, sue some homes may see it but they get great coverage .  NIMBY, Nimby , nimby

By What's the problem on 12/17/2013 at 7:08 pm

You want no progress. You are a Luddite ( historical anti progress sect).  You will shop at whole foods and love it, no matter what you hypocritically say .  Your opinion is respected , but an absolute nay sayer , you are as credible as the boy who cried wolf.

By Dear contrarian kl on 12/17/2013 at 7:19 pm

Those of us who are challenging the tower are not anti-progress and we are not hypocrites.  We simply believe that the placement of a cell tower at this location is bad for the neighborhood and bad for the town - it would set a poor precedent and only encourage additional nuisance uses to the area.  In fact the Town Code supports our arguments!  Verizon has not demonstrated the need for the tower and they have zero interest in preserving the quality of the town.  And by the way, many of us do know who Luddites are and who Cotton Mather was - I find many of these comments highly patronizing [treating others with an apparent kindness that betrays a sense of superiority].

By Respectfully Oppose the Tower on 12/18/2013 at 8:34 am

I am for more cell coverage

By Steve m on 12/18/2013 at 8:58 am

Dear respectfully,

.....And there is a greater number of people who want the cell tower, and the additional coverage it creates, than the people who dont want it .Each has her own opinions And wants .  You simply don’t want to see a cell tower which will be erected in an area substantially bounded by non residential property . Your opinion is respected. By the way, who was cotton Mather?

By Patronizing? on 12/18/2013 at 10:30 am

Isn’t it true that talking in a cell phone is what creates the possible health risk because it touches our head? I read that what ever emanates from a tower hundreds of feet away from humans dissipates before reaching us. ..... And being in a car or indoors blocks it out entirely.  But I am not a scientist.

By Cell phone user on 12/18/2013 at 10:51 am

I didn’t know what a Luddite was. You make me feel inferior LOL.

By Light hearted Reader on 12/18/2013 at 10:54 am

I want more cell coverage also.

By Dear Steve on 12/18/2013 at 11:00 am

I am not involved in the tower controversy, but why would anyone think it is a term of disapprobation to accuse someone of being a Luddite? That accusation would boomerang on the accuser if you knew what they really were defending.  Look up that period of the Industrial Revolution or view Charlie Chaplin’s film, MODERN TIMES.

By Respectfully curious on 12/18/2013 at 9:07 pm

How remote should these postings get? So if wrong words are used in making a fully understood point, the writer is to be derided?  ....  The subject is nimby objection to a cell tower that many others want .  All opinions are respected.

By Yikes on 12/19/2013 at 7:21 pm

There is a dead zone when you drive down that stretch of Armonk Road- Not that I would know since its illegal to talk on my phone and drive so i would never do that.

By dead zone on 12/19/2013 at 8:30 pm

HA! The 5 Nimbys want to keep the dead zone dead!!!!

By Dead dead zone on 12/20/2013 at 12:06 am

I really like to know the real names of the people who posted pro cell tower development comments. I bet they don’t even live in the close range. The neighbors who are immediately impacted should decide right or wrong for the neighborhood.

By JD on 12/23/2013 at 6:04 pm

You got it exactly wrong.  The town as a whole decides these types of issues….. Because Nimbys by definition repudiate any item that they “say” negatively impacts them which benefits the town as a whole. 

In this case. 5 people can see it to a extent it bothers them…... Maybe. Hundreds if others are benefitted

By Dear JD on 12/25/2013 at 8:13 pm

JD,

How do you know people can’t see it from their houses? Have you been in all their homes?

By Stop talking thru your hat on 12/26/2013 at 2:48 pm

The nimby opponents were asked above to state the number of homes that can see it ..... to the extent that their lives are ruined .  No nimby writer controverted that it is 5 homes and that 60% or more of the sight line is over a large lake, a cemetery and route 128.

it is only Nimby sand throwing.  Yes, a few houses may see it in the distance, but only a few. Hundreds of people daily will benefit. The nimby objector can get a tax reduction if his property value is reduced. The operative word is “if” .

By Clarity not obfuscation on 12/26/2013 at 9:32 pm

I want more cell coverage

By I want more cell coverage on 12/28/2013 at 11:25 pm

1)  If that were truly the case, why would Verizon want to build a cell tower?  The coverage map on Verizon’s website is a representation and is not indicative of real world performance. Like it or not, the world of a qualified professional trumps that of a map on Verizon’s website.

2) Placing a cell tower in Ossining does nothing for cell coverage in the Whipporwill area; that is not how cell towers work. If Verizon could solve their coverage issues by placing a tower where they already had permission to do so, why would they go through the extra regulatory hurdles?

3) This ordinance does not mean cell phones “may not” be built within 2500 feet of the historical sites/landmarks; the standard is “to the extent reasonably practicable.”

4) New cell tower sites have to comply with the Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. These studies have either been conducted or they will happen regardless.

5-6)  A height test has been conducted; more importantly, this is an entirely subjective point. The benefit of markedly better cell coverage outweighs whatever effect it may have on the view.

Points 7 through 8 are beyond absurd and indicative of a spiteful ludite. The safety concerns over cell towers are dubious, at best. There are cell sites all over the world and there is little to indicate that they are responsible for health or safety issues. Furthermore, by this logic there should be no cell towers anywhere—a laughable notion indeed.

9) Real estate markets are so localized that one cannot definitively say that cell phone towers lower property values. Secondly, area property taxes are based upon appraised values, not market values. 

10) They should, have and will do the legally required testing. If compliant they may move forward pending town approval. They do not test to satisfy the whim of backwards zealots; nor should they. And people wonder why New Castle is such a bad place to do business…

By Oh Please on 12/29/2013 at 3:52 am

Point of clarification. Actually, real estate taxes are based on market value. The best indicator is a recent sale.Since sales are random, appraisals are the substitute . Appraisal is a best guess at value by a professional, which is the way it is done.  So let the nimby objectors make their tax protests to demonstrate that they have lost over 10% in the actual value of their home, that is, what a willing buyer is willing to pay for a home with a remote view of a cell tower in the trees as opposed to the same house without the view.

By Dear oh please on 01/01/2014 at 1:30 pm

There are waves of all sorts transmitting in our HOMES all day, everyday. The TV’s, Microwave ovens, cell phones, regular phones, game stations..all of it. The cell tower, if not placed on 128, will be placed somewhere equally dangerous and those who live near that one will have something to say as well. The fact is, everyone wants cell phones and no one wants to deal with the fall out. Route 128 has no cell service. Personally, I have been behind two serious accidents (both involving deer) on 128 and I had to leave a bloodied driver and passenger and drive two miles down the road to call 911. I live in New Castle and understand the conflict, but we can’t have our bread buttered on both sides.

By Cookie on 01/02/2014 at 1:57 pm

Happy New Year all!  It’s good to see that the robust discussion continues.

This seems to be a classic economics problem.  On the one side we have the folks like myself who are disparagingly referred to in this forum as “NIMBYs,” and who will disproportionately bear the cost of a cell tower through a deterioration in our quality of life and reductions in our property values, with the marginal benefit of (maybe) slightly better cell service while we drive down Route 128.

On the other side are the folks who reap this highly attractive benefit without bearing any of the economic costs - for the sake of argument let’s refer to these folks as “Supporters Of Unattractive Land-uses that Don’t Abut My Neighborhood”, or “SOULDAMNs”.  How are the SOULDAMNs going to compensate the NIMBYs?  To say that a few thousand dollars in reduced property taxes is just compensation for the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in property value is like saying that antiseptic and a band-aid is an appropriate fix for a severed artery.  The Town must weigh these economic issues, among numerous others, in assessing this application.

See you all in 2014!

By Respectfully Oppose The Tower on 01/02/2014 at 4:19 pm

Two points.
1. Cookie is exactly correct via a vis the community and world views.

2. You admit to bring the archetypal nimby who indeed will be compensated for an alleged loss of property value.  Assume, but not conceding that you suffer a 200,000 property value loss (highly doubtful and speculative), you recoup that amount over a 10-15 year time period. ..... And you get A1 cell service to boot. Only you and Your 4 other neighbors and Cotton Mather are affected. Sympathy is not with you

By Proud to be a Souldamn on 01/03/2014 at 3:23 am

Reduced property taxes increase market value somewhat.  Your situation involves a blend of reductions and increases, all is not as bleak as you fear.n sorry.

By Just a thought on 01/03/2014 at 3:39 am

It seems to me that Armonk is the area that has no or very limited Verizon coverage. I am curious whether the idea of this cell tower is to give coverage to Armonk.  Is Verizon adding any towers there?  Can anyone tell us what the zoning and other requirements would be if they were to add this tower in North Castle rather than New Castle?

Also, for whoever thinks that getting your ta assessment lowered because your house is worth less, and that this will make up for the loss in value, I think you have it wrong.  While someone may have lower taxes because their property has declined in value, that does not make up for the lost value. It simply confirms it to some degree. 

By Isn't this really for Armonk? on 01/04/2014 at 2:32 pm

Adding up the tax savings for 15-20 years is a complete pay back. Yes that is a very long time. Also, lowing taxes on a particular house raises market value a little.  There is not the complete loss feared.
That area if the town is new castle with armonk post office

By TAx assessment on 01/05/2014 at 10:09 pm

As no one in Chappaqua uses cell phones or smart phones anyway, I fail to see why Chappaqua should be burdened with these unsightly structures. Let the people in adjoining communities which use these new-fangled things bear all the burden.

By Observer on 01/06/2014 at 9:46 am

We all benefit from it including people who don’t like looking at it.

By Cell tower lover on 01/07/2014 at 9:43 am

To be honest, I have no dog in this fight.  Don’t live near there and generally try to avoid using my cell phone when driving through.  But I am a bit amused by the apparent willingness by many to rationalize any loss in market value by the tax savings that will result.  This is just preposterous.  While we’re at it, let’s just render the properties worthless.  Just think how much someone would pay for a property with no taxes at all!

By Tax Alchemy on 01/10/2014 at 10:11 am

You apparently don’t understand the important procedures available to persons who feel that their properties have lost value. You obviously are a serious , educated person and above your silly comment

By Dear tax alchemy on 01/11/2014 at 9:18 pm

If this town needs a cell tower so badly, then the town should pay residents for any losses they incur as a result of a cell tower being erected next door.

This includes property value, home value and relocation costs if the tower is so close or impactful that the affected resident has to move.

In what world is it OK for residents ot lose their property and home values just so other residents can enjoy uninterrupted cell service between Armonk and Mt Kisco? How is that fair?

If we need a tower that badly - minimize the impact in another location… or PAY for losses that putting a tower up among homes will create.

By Making residents pay - not cool! on 03/03/2014 at 9:44 pm

a reduction in assessed valuation= lower taxes paid by an affected
homeowner. That loss is shared by the rest of the residents. We are talking about a cell tower deep in the woods.

Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the loss you feel you would suffer is 99% in your eyes and 1% reality, as the rest of the impartial world would view and evaluate it.

By residents do pay on 03/09/2014 at 9:23 pm

If people want their fancy smart phones to work, deal with it. People are glued to their fancy devices but cry over these towers that allow them to operate.

Gotta love the irony.

By Irony on 05/04/2014 at 7:40 am


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