NEWBURGH – Some residents in town are upset about a proposed cell phone tower that they say is being rushed through with little input from residents.
“Something as important as this, everybody is going to be effected in this neighborhood, they should have at least given us a heads up a long time ago,” said Arnold Whittaker, who has lived in town for 32 years. “We’re the last ones to know and that is not fair in my mind.”
The proposed 190-foot Verizon cell phone tower location on Route 69 is just across the street from Whittaker’s home, which is where his wife operates a daycare.
They were notified on June 4 about the proposal and the planning board is holding a site walkthrough on Wednesday.
The public hearing and planning board vote on the project is scheduled for July 11 at 7 p.m.
Ryan Ward, the planning board chairman, said the board is aware of the resident’s concerns. He said planners will be following the newly enacted land use code, which was approved by residents at the annual town meeting on Wednesday and has a section concerning cell towers.
“I almost got the feeling that it was a done deal and that our planning board is just going through the formalities,” said Sandra Taylor-Whittaker.
“They’ve had everything. They’ve had this all laid out boom, boom, boom, boom,” said Kathy Vanaria, who has lived in town for 13 years. “There was no let’s get everybody together to talk about it and see what the community wants.
We’re getting this rammed down our throats at the last minute so we’re all running around trying to figure out who, what, where, when, why.”
The neighbors are worried about property values, possible health issues and they also believe that at this point there may be no way to stop the cell phone tower from being installed.
“We were told some residents of Newburgh would have to pay for Newburgh to grow, which we didn’t think was appropriate,” Whittaker said.