May 4, 2009
We write to encourage readers to tell their elected officials that cell tower siting in Tompkins County should be determined at the county level. A county-wide moratorium on cell tower siting would provide time to develop a task force for intermunicipal coordination of responses to cell tower siting requests from Verizon and other companies.
Why is this important to Tompkins County municipalities? Cell companies are playing off differences in municipal ordinances, siting towers inappropriately. Sites are proposed that degrade community and natural values, benefiting one user group or municipality over others. Meanwhile, large areas of Tompkins County have little or no basic cell coverage.
At recent Dryden Town Board meetings we learned that Verizon will neither discuss long-range planning and siting nor agree to meet community needs, although municipalities and the county have worked hard to accommodate cell company requirements.
We encourage Tompkins County to take the initiative to ensure cell tower coverage that is equable for all areas and protective of neighborhoods, land values and natural areas. We recommend the formation of a citizens group to assist with coordination and communication among the municipalities of TC.