Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Microwave to Nowhere: Proposed Cell Tower Impacts

Here are two photos that demonstrate how the Verizon cell tower proposed for Hanshaw Road would impact Ludgate Farms Store and the surrounding neighborhood.

The two red balloons were hoisted on April 16 2009 as a demonstration of the approximate height and location of the cell tower, at the request of the Dryden Town Board at its April 2009 meeting.

Keep in mind that the cell tower would not consist of two pretty red balloons with a gap in between, but a metal tower bristling with attachments. There would also be a microwave installation that, as the Verizon rep admitted under questioning from a Town Board member, would point "Nowhere."

Because this demo was arranged at very short notice with nothing like adequate public notice, working residents along Cardinal and Meadowlark Drives on the Dryden side of Sapsucker Woods Road may not get an opportunity to view the pretty red balloons. Hence a photo is provided here of what the tower would look like from midway along Cardinal Drive. The other photo shows the impact to Ludgate Farms Store on Hanshaw Road.

Thank you to the Dryden Town Board and to Verizon for this demo, which illustrates how inappropriate this tower is at this location. It would intrude on Ludgates, on all hikers using the Cayuga Trail across Hanshaw from Ludgates, on all residents along Hanshaw Road to Monkey Run, and for many on Cardinal and Meadowlark Drives.

All the negative impacts would be in Dryden, while the tower would be invisible to the Ithacans who would reap the cell coverage benefits. Meanwhile many areas of Dryden have little or no cell tower coverage -- and stand to gain no more from Verizon over the next 5 - 7 years, according to the Verizon rep at the April Town Board meeting! Remind me again -- what is Dryden getting out of this proposed deal?

Verizon seems to be playing off one municipality against another, apparently hustling to feed its own business strategy and competitive edge while ignoring the real needs of the community it is supposedly here to serve. It claims special legal privileges as a so-called "public utility," but that's a two-way street.

What would Dryden get in return for allowing Verizon to taint this Dryden neighborhood? Absolutely NOTHING.

It is hoped that the municipalities making up Tompkins County can work together in cooperation with Verizon and other cell phone and internet companies for a better, wiser tower placement policy -- starting with this proposed cell tower. There is no right way to do the wrong thing -- and placing a cell tower at this location is the wrong thing.