Verizon wants to expand service in Orange County with new tower. Monroe residents have concerns
Verizon is attempting to expand its service in Orange County by building a 100-foot cell tower – but neighbors have a slew of concerns.
The telecom giant is trying to get clearance to build it off Strauss Lane in Monroe. It would need approval from the town’s Planning Board and the Board of Zoning Appeals to move forward.
Neighbors, such as Rob Furbeck, say they're concerned about aesthetics, the environment and their property values.
"If that becomes a reality, then we're really on the short end of the stick here,” he said.
At a recent public hearing, David Kenny, an attorney for Verizon, said his team has heard those concerns and they're doing everything possible to minimize the number of trees they remove to reduce visibility of the tower.
He said Verizon is trying to improve cellphone coverage and increase capacity – so the tower needs to go somewhere.
"It's a balance. We want to make sure we're providing a tower that absolutely fills the gap in service, but also one that is minimally intrusional upon the community,” he said.
Kathleen King, a Monroe resident, voiced support for the tower, at that public hearing.
"Our cellphone service is terrible," she said. "Our biggest fear is that, in the worst case, a cellphone user might not…be able to get emergency help."
Verizon's attorney and consultants are considering many ideas to make the tower less visible. For one, they say the tower would be painted brown to blend in with the trees. Another idea would be to move the tower site by 50 feet to where it's less visible. That shift though, they say, might require the tower to be taller, if it ends up in a spot with lower elevation.
The Planning Board voted to extend the public comment period for the tower proposal until Feb. 21.
Verizon's attorney says the company is willing to extend the shot clock, though they've been working on their application for the tower for about a year now.