I recently attended the May 21 Lewisboro Town Board meeting at John Jay High School about the proposed cell phone tower plan. Homeland Towers has approached the town and submitted an application to build a 179-foot monopole steel tower on the grounds of the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps. If approved, not only will this tower be the defining physical feature of Cross River, but several homes and town residents will be forced to live in its monstrous shadow.
Supervisor Parsons and the board were unable to provide adequate answers to questions we all raised about alternate sites, property values, or fears of potential health risks. Mr. Parsons simply told us there is no alternative.
This answer is hardly surprising considering that the town’s master plan—which can be found on the town’s website—was last updated 33 years ago. Cell phones weren’t even around in 1985, so it’s understandable that there is no mention of where, how and when we should install cell phone towers. It is well past the time for Lewisboro to update its master plan. When we are faced with a challenge like this, we should not be reliant on a profit-driven private company like Homeland Towers to provide the answer. We should instead look to our own master plan for guidance and solve our own problems.
In the meantime, Supervisor Parsons and the Town Board should adopt a short-term moratorium—as allowed by New York State law—on cell tower permits. This won’t buy us enough time to develop a new master plan for the town. But it will allow the Planning Board to develop a comprehensive plan that will establish where, and under what conditions, we will install our cell phone towers. There is no doubt that Lewisboro and Cross River must address the demand for improved cell phone service. It is incumbent on Supervisor Parsons, the Town Board, and the Planning Board to undertake such an impactful decision in the most informed and responsible manner possible.