UPDATE The Mahopac Town Board now has two strikes against it in the eyes of residents when it comes to a planned tower. The Mahopac News reported that residents of Maple Hill Estates showed up at the Town Board’s August 12 meeting and vehemently protested the New York project for over two hours.
The board had already faced a lawsuit over this tower project after denying the first site proposed by Homeland Towers and Verizon Wireless, also in a residential area. After residents near the first site (Croton Falls Road) hired an attorney and fought the plan, the board decided to veto Homeland’s request, which resulted in a lawsuit claiming violation of the Telecommunications Act.
The judge assigned to the case urged the parties to settle out of court, reported the Mahopac News, and a second site in residential Maple Hill Estates was identified. The board of directors of Maple Hill Estates’ homeowners’ association, which stands to benefit from lease income, voted in favor of the project. The proposed site places the tower only a few hundred feet from some property lines.
At the August 12 meeting, residents chastised board members for approving the tower “sight unseen.” Concerns over health effects in a “neighborhood filled with children” were also expressed.
Resident John Gondolfo said to the board, “You voted on something without looking at it and seeing what damage it would do…You had no idea where the tower was going. What you did to us was wrong…You didn’t have the nerve to look at the site before you put your names on it. Shame on all of you.” Gondolfo also accused one Councilman of “getting into bed” with Homeland Towers and told the board to “enjoy your 30 pieces of silver.”
Another resident, Rob Cavallaro, added, “The biggest difference is that those neighborhoods (Croton Falls Road) had a voice. [You’ve] tried to fly under the radar without acknowledging the many homes directly behind the Maple Hill Estates. If Maple Hill wants this tower, they should put it in the middle of their 80 homes, 20 acres away from ours. The town was negligent in doing their due diligence before settling this matter.”
“You will not turn our world upside down by putting this tower just feet from our doorsteps,” Cavallaro continued. “Those construction vehicles will have to drive over my dead body before they start.”
Supervisor Ken Schmitt visited the site after the permits were already granted. He’s trying to find a solution. “I spent 40 minutes on the phone with the president of Homeland Towers the other day and conveyed the residents’ concerns and my concerns,” he said. “I was very honest with them and hope to find some middle ground with them. We are trying. This board is trying. I hear all of you and share your concerns, and we are doing what we can.”
Despite Schmitt’s rhetoric, the attendees’ arguments grew so heated that he told the audience they were out of line. The clapback came quickly: “No, you’re out of line!”