September 06, 2006
Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Don't do it!
This may well become the mantra in Springs as angry residents complain to their Board of Fire Commissioners about a proposal to build a 125-foot cell tower on fire department property in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
As has happened in the past across Long Island, legitimate concerns about the need for clear channels for our emergency personnel and police departments are often voiced when an entity wants to erect a new, unsightly (some would also say unhealthy) tower. Oftentimes, the need for the tower is overestimated and proponents employ scare tactics where none are warranted. In this case, there isn't even a pretext of public good. The proposal is driven by money.
The projected revenue of the tower, estimated at $6000 a month, is the force behind the proposal. If in fact more towers are needed for emergency communications, they'd be better placed on higher ground away from residences.
The monetary gain is minuscule compared to the visual impact and safety concerns the proposed tower will have on the community. Every single house within eyesight will lose value, costing local homeowners millions of dollars.
The board, a separate entity charged with setting the tax base for the districts, deserves credit for bringing this unsolicited offer to public forum. Our advice is to turn it down quickly and move on exploring other ways to fund fire department needs.
Though technically exempt from town review, there is little doubt this proposal wouldn't fly if reviewed by the zoning board, and it shouldn't: it violates numerous provisions of the code.
The Fire Department is an invaluable part of our community, and property owners have never balked when asked to provide additional funding.
Protect Springs and hang up on this proposal!