Board approves AT&T tower with conditions

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:49

    The 165-foot tower will be disguised to look like a tree Warwick — A handful of residents came to Town Hall on Oct. 13 for the public hearing about the wireless telecommunications facility planned for the town’s municipal water lot located on Route 94 South east of Sanfordville Road. The board agreed with residents concerned about landscaping the facility and at the regular meeting that followed, voted unanimously to grant the joint application with New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC - known commonly as AT&T - with six conditions including a landscaping plan. “We’ve requested for landscaping to minimize the overall look of the facility and my suggestion is to have a full landscape plan…to enhance the area surrounding the enclosure,” said town planner Ted Fink. Deputy town attorney John Bollenbach was also present while Councilman Leonard DeBuck and town attorney John Hicks were absent; Neil Alexander of Cuddy & Feder in White Plains represented AT&T at the meeting. “I’m very concerned about the landscaping and our town becoming like every other,” said one resident who lives nearby on Warwick Turnpike and wants the facility hidden with landscaping as much as possible. In addition to filling “an existing critical gap in service a 2.67 mile gap in service coverage of 2.67 miles from Black Rock Road to New Jersey” the agreement with AT&T will generate as much as $1,800 per month for the town, which also will have rights on ground leases for additional carriers. “(Route) 94 has 12,000 vehicles on it per day so it’s critical pathway,” said Fink. The town’s position on the tower will be just above the tree line at between 90 and 110 feet. The tower can hold a total of five carriers. After learning of the approval, Alexander said in an interview that he believed AT&T would be able to satisfy the conditions of approval before the end of the year. Can Warwick balance its budget this year? Town of Warwick supervisor Michael Sweeton is preparing for another difficult budget season as negotiations in November with local unions loom at a time when the governor has capped property tax increases at two percent and nearby municipalities in Pennsylvania are declaring bankruptcy. The town’s mandatory health insurance costs, contributions to retirement and election bills exceed the cap amount already putting the town and the supervisor, who is running for reelection, in a predicament. “We cut more than $1 million (from the budget) last year but now it’s exceedingly difficult,” said Sweeton, who blames county and state politicians for passing the buck. For example, last year the county charged the town approximately $70,000 to run elections, passing the costs associated with the 2002 Help America Vote Act onto the town. Sweeton expects this year’s elections will cost the town almost $115,000 or nearly 65 percent more than last year. The supervisor said he believes that in addition to a cap on property tax increases, the state must cut expenses and give towns meaningful mandate relief. In other news: For the month of September the Community Preservation Fund raised $52,842.37 Warwick building department is expediting the permit process for residents seeking to do repairs during the Greenwood Lake drawdown. Town residents can come to Town Hall for help so no delays happen on account of application errors. Warwick Valley Humane Society is in need of feline or equine pine pellet bedding, bleach, Simple Green, laundry and dish detergent, heavy duty garbage bags, paper towels, ground cat food, large dog bones, and Hills Science Diet dry cat or dog food. “They do a great job on a very limited budget,” said Councilman Floyd DeAngelo. The board accepted the resignation of zoning board of appeals recording secretary Frances Sanford effective Oct. 10 The board accepted the bid from sole bidder Allied Excavating in Warwick to install a temporary bridge over Longhouse Creek on Cascade Road at a cost not to exceed $62,000. The town is renting the bridge for six months from Acrow Corporation of America in Parsippany, New Jersey at a cost of $23,700. The board rescheduled a public hearing from Oct. 13 to Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall to acquire two properties for back taxes. A one acre parcel adjacent to the Bellvale Water District would cost the water district $5,000 and a 10.3 acre parcel adjacent to Cascade Lake Park would cost the park’s fund $1,500. The next regular meeting of the board is Oct. 27 at 7:30 pm at Warwick Town Hall, 132 Kings Highway. - Birgit Bogler