TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There is concern in one Westchester County town over a new cellphone tower.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it needs to improve communication, especially during emergencies, but some people who live in the area wish the agency would have communicated with them a bit more before moving forward, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported Thursday.
Soaring into the sky, towering over Tammy Thompson’s Tarrytown home, is a brand new MTA cell tower.
“I had no idea. I would’ve loved to have been warned about it,” Thompson said.
The tower just went up within the last week, much to the surprise of many residents. It’s right behind the Franklin Courts housing complex, just steps away from a playground.
“If something were to happen, a wind came through or a storm, or whatever, that tower is … it will come over this way,” Thompson said.
“Nobody wants it here,” another resident added.
“They need to be able to communicate and that’s important. People in the town should’ve been notified a little more,” resident Angela Coffey said.
The MTA said the tower will help improve communications between police, fire agencies and the Department of Homeland Security during emergencies. It is also expected to improve cell service for riders and the public.
Tarrytown Village Administrator Richard Slingerland said under state law the MTA is actually exempt from local zoning and land use approval codes. If the agency went through the process that, for example, Verizon would have to go through, he said the village would not have approved this location.
“The village went on written notice that we were very unhappy with this installation. It wasn’t appropriate going in behind residential homes and we asked Metro-North to consider other alternatives,” Slingerland said.
Village officials and residents were also concerned about obstructing views of the Hudson River, but to no avail. The tower is on MTA property, CBS2’s Grymes reported.
An MTA spokesperson said the towers “has been built to meet or exceed building codes related to quality of construction and design,” and added the agency started working with the village administrator, the Federal Communications Commission and others on this back in 2014.
Residents said whatever the communication process was, it didn’t work.
An MTA spokesperson said once an antenna is added, the tower will be 164 feet tall. Similar towers are planned for Rye and the Dutchess County hamlet of New Hamburg.