Letter to ZBA: Deny the cell tower application for Alfredo property
Saturday, June 7, 2014
by Roger and June Blanc
Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to the Zoning Board of Appeals and to the Planning Board. The authors contend that Homeland Towers representatives still “have not demonstrated that the proposed tower is the best or least intrusive means of remedying whatever lack of signal strength is now present. There is much data in the record before the Board to give rise to a serious doubt as to whether there is in fact any significant gap in signal coverage.” The entire letter is reprinted below.
June 5, 2014
Zoning Board of Appeals
Town of New Castle
200 South Greeley Avenue
Chappaqua, NY 10514
Homeland Towers, LLC/Alfredo Landscaping & Development Corp. application appealing the Building Inspector’s determination that an amendment to the existing Special Use Permit is required, and for an amendment to their Special Use Permit to permit a wireless telecommunication services facility.
Homeland Towers/Verizon/Alfredo Landscaping – Application for Special Use Permit, and Wetlands Permit Approvals for a Wireless Telecommunications Services Facility (Major) – 620 Armonk Rd. (NY Route 128) – TM #101.11-1-2
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We respectfully continue to recommend that the Zoning Board of Appeals (the “Board”) deny the above-captioned applications (together, the “Applications”) for the reasons set forth in our prior letters of March 18 and May 19, 2014 and other reasons the Board may find appropriate. We reserve all our rights with respect to any action the Board may take with respect to the Applications.
We were disappointed to learn at the Board’s public meeting on May 27, 2014 that the Board had apparently decided to grant the Applications. The public meeting had been preceded by an executive session not open to the public, with respect to which it was represented to the public that the Board would be receiving advice from its counsel, but in which we gather the Board had decided what action to take on the Applications. For the reasons outlined in our previous letters of March 18 and May 19, 2014, we believe that the Alfredo Landscaping & Development Corp. (“Alfredo”) and Homeland Towers, LLC (“Homeland”) have failed to provide to the Board a legally sustainable basis to approve the Applications. The Applicants have not demonstrated that the proposed tower is the best or least intrusive means of remedying whatever lack of signal strength is now present. There is much data in the record before the Board to give rise to a serious doubt as to whether there is in fact any significant gap in signal coverage.
It is perhaps not surprising that the applicants have not made any serious study of alternatives. Alfredo has no interest in looking for alternatives and neither does Homeland, particularly if the alternatives would involve “repeater” signal boosters or any means other than the tower from which neither Alfredo nor Homeland would earn fees or other revenues. That raw commercial reality, however, does not relieve Alfredo or Homeland of the duty to justify their proposed tower by showing the absence of other less intrusive means.
At the public meeting, we were concerned that the Board has nevertheless concluded it will approve the Applications in the absence of any legally sufficient basis. Nevertheless, we were pleased that Board member Mr. Harvey Bonaparthe stated that the Board’s approval should be expressly conditioned on the Applicants’ scrupulous compliance with all applicable Town laws and requirements, including the terms of the special use permits. We think such a condition should be expressly built into whatever approval the Board issues even if the approval itself would be legally infirm. There is much in the record of this proceeding to demonstrate that Alfredo’s approach to compliance with the existing special use permit has reflected over the course of many years a contumacious refusal to obey the law.
To put into effect the condition that Mr. Bonaparthe mentioned, we would recommend that the following proviso be appended to any order of the Board approving the Applications or any part thereof:
; provided, however, that the special use permits granted or amended by this Order shall not be of any force or effect if either Alfredo or Homeland, or both, are now failing or hereafter fail to comply in any respect whatsoever, material or otherwise, with the terms of the special use permits granted or amended hereby, with any applicable site plans or with any other otherwise applicable law, and in any such event such special use permits shall be deemed to have been revoked without any need for notice of revocation by the Board or any further action by the Board to confirm such revocation; and provided, further, that upon such revocation, any purported reliance by either Alfredo or Homeland, or both, on the revoked special permits shall constitute, and be punishable as, a violation of law.
Roger D. Blanc
June K. Blanc
cc: New Castle Planning Board