Dryden Town Board
93 East Main Street
Dryden NY 13053
June 8, 2009
Dear Supervisor Sumner and Dryden Town Board members:
I am writing to thank you for the opportunity to express the concerns of the folks who live in the Hanshaw-Sapsucker area regarding the Verizon cell tower that has been proposed to be built on the Uhls’ property near the Ludgate Farms store. It has been an honor to take part in this process over the past several months and I thank you all for your polite and patient time and attention.
I and others remain convinced that this is the wrong place for a cell tower, and that the Dryden Town Board is within its legal rights to say No to this tower proposal, or to sideline it until after a county-level review process is established.
The bases for a refusal or postponement remain the same: that Dryden would not benefit in any appreciable way from this tower, and yet a Dryden neighborhood would have to bear the impacts, among them lowered property values of nearby homes; and also that a residential neighborhood with Unique Natural areas on both sides is not appropriate for a cell tower, according to your own town zoning criteria.
Below, I address our concerns about the gradual degradation that would soon begin to eat away at this area were a cell tower to be built at this location. I have struggled for weeks on how best to explain this concern to you, and at one point planned to develop a mini-environmental impact statement complete with every type of technical and legal bell and whistle. In the end I decided to simply draw for you a word picture of what we think would inevitably take place as a result of a cell tower being built in this area.
To cut to the chase, we think that a proposal would soon arise to have the area re-zoned for commercial use, with resulting lights, noise, additional traffic and further physical degradation of this quiet residential and valuable natural area.
At present, the wooded property owned by the Uhls serves as a buffer, link, corridor and habitat for wildlife to use between the Fall Creek Unique Natural Area and the Sapsucker Woods Unique Natural Area. Well-used wildlife trails match up across Hanshaw Road. Also, although not mentioned or evaluated in any report, a stream significant enough to merit a culvert under Hanshaw Road runs from the Uhls’ property toward Fall Creek.
It has been argued by some that this area is already degraded by residential development (see tax map attachment) and that thus a cell tower will not do any further damage beyond its immediate footprint. However, we argue that this is exactly the reason why no more development, such as a cell tower, should be added to this vulnerable area.
While cell towers are most appropriately located in already-developed commercial-industrial areas, it is also common that cell towers placed in a wooded natural area soon attract commercial and industrial development around them. Why? Because the very presence of a cell tower signifies that the area is of lower value and is open for development. A cell tower degrades by its very presence.
Do you really want to actively contribute to the decay of this area by saying Yes to a cell tower here? Do you really want to significantly and measurably lower the natural and human values of this area by saying Yes to a cell tower here?
With the half-finished roadway that lies just east of the Ludgate property and the intense residential developer pressure along both the Ithaca and Dryden sides of Sapsucker Woods Road, a cell tower built on the Uhl’s property would be the tipping point to degrade this area into a commercial zoned stretch with a gas station and small shops.
If that happened, the green link – already tenuous – between the two Unique Natural Areas would be irretrievably broken and destroyed. The water quality of the stream flowing off the Uhl’s property to Fall Creek would be degraded. Both the Dryden and Ithaca sides of Sapsucker Woods would be under attack from development. The green buffer so important to the Hanshaw-Sapsucker area would be riddled with holes that would grow rapidly, and the green continuity of the Sapsucker-Fall Creek area would be permanently severed.
Degradation is a slow but inevitable process, once it is set in motion. A cell tower here would be a mortal blow to this vulnerable boundary area. Saying No to a cell tower here means saying Yes to the possibility of a sustainable future for this area, instead of a future of degradation, decay and loss. Please say No to a cell tower in this location.
And other supporters of Friends of Hanshaw-Sapsucker