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Can You Hear Me Now?

Town Park cell tower construction nears completion.

The construction of the 160 foot cell tower, behind Lewisboro Town Park looks near complete.  This effort spanned the terms of four town supervisors.  The convenience of making a call on Route 35 may soon be commonplace. 

I think back now to the series of public hearings, town and planning board meetings and legislative efforts that were required to bring this tower into existence.  During my term as Supervisor, we enacted local legislation and enlisted the help of our newly elected State Assemblyman to enact a New York State law allowing the use of the acreage for the tower. 

Our local legislation gave the Town Board the authority to erect a temporary tower while the permanent tower approvals navigated their path through our local approval process and ultimate construction. 

I remember a comment letter from the planning board stating any extensions of the temporary cell tower permit would be unnecessary as their approval process was timely and would not delay any desired results.  The irony being, the temporary tower has now been in operation for two years.  Those two years provided income to the town and the safety of cell reception, at least in our Town Park, baseball field and albeit limited reception during three major storm emergencies. 

I remember the disappointment of not having cell reception at the high school after the 80 foot temporary tower was installed.  An added benefit, which reduced my disappointment, was that permanent tower plans were amended increasing the height to 160 feet from the normal 120 feet to increase coverage capability. 

I am eager to see the effect of the results of the completion of this project on the hamlets of Cross River and South Salem.  I am also optimistic that the Patch inviting me to be a Local Voice will have a similar positive effect on Lewisboro.

Charlie Duffy

P.S. If you look closely you can see a worker atop the tower.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Margaret December 14, 2012 at 01:34 PM
When will it actually be complete?
Charles Duffy December 14, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I don't have specific information. I can speak to members of the Lewisboro Town Board to see if Verizon (who is building the tower) has given them a timeframe. They should be able to tie the new tower into the power lines that were reconfigured two years ago when we authorized the temporary tower.
Donald Diamond December 14, 2012 at 02:27 PM
No tower does any good when there is a power outage. None of the cell phone companies, none of the cable companies and phone utilities have backup power generators to maintain their service when Con Edison or NYSE&G fails to supply current to Cablevision, AT&T, et al. There was no way that any household could summon help in an emergency when Sandy hit because these companies lobby to avoid installing a power backup. The town governments do not insist that there be a power backup when they give approval to erect towers and Albany focuses on the poor service provided by the electric utilities. When Sandy hit me, AT&T cell service when out with it. There was no way I could reach help if it was needed. Our Governors, Town Supervisors should use the force of Town and State governments to take action.
Charles Duffy December 14, 2012 at 03:42 PM
This tower has provisions for a generator. Unfortunately, even the generators can run out of fuel during these prolonged storm outages we have had. Our local emergency management committees have had "lessons learned" meetings recently. The results of these meetings are event plans that include increased communication when events are imminent, informing the public where they will be able to access fresh water, meals and dry ice, adding roadside communication and most importantly, establishing links between local highway superintendents directly with utility reps to coordinate recoveries. Attempting to force any organization to invest their capital beyond current legal agreements could just increase litigation costs leaving even less of our tax dollars available.
Lisa Buchman (Editor) December 14, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Thank you Charlie Duffy for your perspective on the cell situation in Lewisboro! I remember sitting across the table from attorneys when we closed on our house almost 9 years ago, and everyone in the room assured us we would have cel coverage within the year. Almost a decade later...
Charles Duffy December 14, 2012 at 04:58 PM
You are very welcome, Ms. Buchman and thank you, again for allowing me to be a Local Voice. The unknown here is what the coverage is really going to be. Just to the west of this tower are the Meadow Condominiums, Four Winds Hospital and the Michelle Estates Loop. As you are aware, that area contains many steep hills and low valleys. I have walked those hills, trick or treating with my children, and I can imagine that there could still be dead zones because of this tricky topography.
Rob Cummings December 14, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Saw it peeking out last week from Reservation Road inside of Pound Ridge Reservation. It will serve lost hikers (and emergency responders) well in the park. Lisa - I took some photos a few weeks ago of the foundations if you are interested. It took a long time to get there but happy it is actually real now. Thanks to all who pushed it forward. Where's the next one going? :-)
Charles Duffy December 14, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Rob, It seems that each year there are a few stories of lost hikers, each summer. Your point is a very good one that this will help on the Reservation.

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