The Planning Board recently held public hearings regarding two tower projects proposed by Homeland Towers on behalf of Verizon. Residents voiced concerns over aesthetics, potentially reducing property values, and intruding on a potential nationally historic adjacent property, reported the Mahopac News (NY).
According to resident Gail Fiero, Homeland Towers may have to begin the site-plan approval process all over again; the site proposed for one tower is adjacent to the home of novelist Richard Yates.
He wrote his most acclaimed book in that home, “Revolutionary Road,” a runner-up for the National Book Award…but it was 1962 and Yates, unfortunately, was up against Catch 22 that year. Yates’ book finished second.
Fiero presented a letter from the state’s Division for Historic Preservation, saying that the agency “has made careful assessment of these resources as they relate to potential State and National Register of Historic Places eligibility and has concluded that they satisfy the criteria for listing…Yates’ 1961 book was authored while the Yates family resided there.”
Besides the argument over Yates’ property, other residents complained about how the towers might impact property values. “Is the town prepared to give everyone within 1,000 feet a tax break? Commercial activity of this scale and nature has no place in residential areas,” said homeowner Emily Swanson.
Residents rebuffed studies Homeland provided stating that home values increase within a radius of a tower. According to resident Jennifer Simon, that’s not true. She cited studies to the contrary by the National Association of Realtors, Journal of Finance and Economics, National Association of Appraisal Institute, and the National Institute of Public Policy. “There is a significant social welfare cost in putting cell towers near homes, with declining values at 2.5 percent on average. For homes in view of those towers, the decline is 9.7 percent,” she said.
Homeowner Robert Montanoro said 30 homes would be affected by one of the towers. “The estimated [property value] loss between all those homes is $3 million,” he said. “Those same 30 homes pay $500,000 in taxes to this town every year. These numbers are staggering and certainly large enough to consider for litigation.”
The public hearing was left open for now. As the next step, the Planning Board will reconvene on September 11.
August 27, 2019
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