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The Case of the Three Cell Towers Amenia Seeks an Alternative to MetroNorth Train Station Site

Three locations are being considered for new cell towers in Amenia. The first monopole proposed is located at 67 Kent Road in South Amenia, by SBA Communications, and would provide reception for Verizon. The company provided a visual “balloon test” for the approx. 167’ pole earlier this year, and is still apparently a work in progress despite opposition by neighboring residents, and their need for a variance from the Amenia Zoning Board of Appeals. It was rejected by the MTA and the ZBA as it would need to be extraordinarily tall to get a signal over the high ridge to the west (RM) and fill the service gap in the hamlet of Wassaic."

A second monopole is being proposed at the Wassaic Train Station (owned by MetroNorth) near the back of their parking lot and the old race track which was used for trotters in the ‘forties. MTA needs to enhance MTA police communications and response to emergencies such as hurricane Sandy, which has been deemed inadequate by Homeland Security. The proposed monopole will be appx. 170’ high and is slated to be constructed before year-end.

The third and newest possible cell tower location is at 4295 Route 22 in Wassaic on a parcel owned by Bob Barlow, a builder who has just leased a 5,000 sq. ft. area behind his wood shop to Homeland Towers, which has not yet submitted an application to the Town, but has expressed interest in building a 120’ cell tower for commercial carriers, and providing the service needed by the MTA. This new site is on the west side of Route 22, next to Dutchess County’s ARC, and is about 60 feet higher in elevation than the proposed monopole location at the Wassaic Train Station. The Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) reviewed the three proposed sites at their meeting on October 28th, using topographic maps and a cursory simulated image of the proposed toward tower might look like on the Barlow property. The town’s radio frequency engineer, Ron Graiff, and the town’s visual impact consultant, George Janes suggested Homeland Towers’ proposed location was a potentially viable alternative to the one at the Wassaic Train Station. CAC members recommended that if Homeland Towers can meet MTA’s communication needs and with less impact to the Town, it should be encouraged to do so, eliminating the possibility of 2 towers being built 1800’ from each other, particularly since the MTA tower alone was projected to cost taxpayers about $1 million to construct.