GovernmentThe Examiner

Mount Kisco Urges Verizon to Screen Proposed Antennas on Downtown Roof

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The building at 45 E. Main St. where Verizon has proposed erecting antennas on the roof to improve downtown wireless service. (Martin Wilbur photo)

Mount Kisco planners are calling on Verizon to arrange for more effective screening of a series of antennas it has proposed installing at a front corner of the roof at 45. E. Main St.

Verizon is seeking site plan approval and a special use permit for antennas for three sectors to enhance wireless service in downtown Mount Kisco. Two of the sectors will be mounted flush to an existing elevator penthouse on the five-story building, but another three antennas for the remaining sector will be placed on a steel frame on the southwestern corner of the roof, said attorney Michael Sheridan, representing Verizon in the matter.

“It will ensure fast and ubiquitous wireless connectivity to the downtown business district,” Sheridan said.

However, Mount Kisco Planning Board members were adamant that the applicant presents three options to camouflage the antennas. Painting the antennas the same color as the mostly brick building or by using stealthing methods to disguise the antennas were two possibilities that were raised.

Board member Crystal Pickard, echoing most of the board’s sentiments, said the building is one of the tallest and most visible structures in the village.

“There’s no effort here at all,” Pickard said of the screening attempts. “You just need the design team, for them to present some screening options for us to opine on.”

However, Sheridan said that other than painting the antennas, any other screening would likely make them more noticeable to residents and passersby. He also mentioned that the antennas would benefit the village’s businesses and residents.

“Our opinion is that this is the least bulky, least intrusive means of (placing) it on the building,” Sheridan said. “Again, this is a tall building, it’s not low to the ground. These antennas are not going to be seen if anybody’s walking down Main Street, you’re not going to be able to see them.”

During the public hearing last Tuesday, there was one resident who spoke, John Piazza of Carpenter Avenue, who may be the person who lives closest to the building. Piazza said that while the board seemed to be focusing on aesthetic issues, he was concerned about potential health impacts.

“We live in a world, I know, that is greatly bereft of common sense in many, many ways,” he said. “We choose comfort and convenience over safety and then we live to regret it. I hope we don’t regret this.”

It was revealed that the proposed antennas would account for 12 percent of emissions allowed under federal guidelines.

Cell towers and antennas have been a sensitive issue in Mount Kisco in the past couple of years, as carriers have been looking at various locations to enhance coverage throughout the village. One of the most controversial proposals is a cell tower proposed at 180 S. Bedford Rd., although part of that debate is a result of it being considered at the same site of a possible solar farm and in close proximity to a residential development.

Verizon has received its required variances from the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

The applicant is expected to return with a few screening alternatives when it returns to the board.

Cell Tower, Solar Farm Hearings Adjourned

The Planning Board once again adjourned public hearings for the SCS Sarles solar farm proposed for 180 S. Bedford Rd. and Homeland Towers’ proposed cell tower for a portion of the same 25-acre parcel.

Both Homeland Towers and the village agreed last month to extend the federally mandated “shot clock” until Oct. 29. The shot clock requires a municipality to decide on a cell tower within 150 days of an application’s submission unless there’s mutual agreement to extend that time period.

There have been multiple extensions on the application since last February as Homeland Towers has searched for an alternative site in the area.

Acting Board Chairman Michael Bonforte said the Planning Board could move to decide on the application at its. Oct. 26, three days before the shot clock expires.

Village Attorney Whitney Singleton said Homeland’s escrow account is still in arrears. An applicant is required to maintain a minimum escrow account to pay for the village’s professional consultants.

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