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Good Question: Is a controversial cellphone tower still a go?

April 22, 2019 08:47 AM

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WHEC) — It's a controversial project in Pittsford that has caused a lot of tension in the suburban community. The project got the green light from the town's planning board more than a year ago but since then there has not been an update.

"Any news about that controversial cell tower?" Timothy Griffin asked Pat Taney for this week's Good Question report. "Months ago the neighborhood was up in arms about an 80-foot cell tower placed in the middle of a residential area. Lately, we haven't heard a word."

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"I've had a lot of people stop by town hall asking the same thing," Town Supervisor Bill Smith said.

So is the plan to build the tower at the United Church of Christ on South Main Street still moving forward? The answer is yes. 

Verizon is behind the plan to build the cell tower. A company spokesperson says the tower is needed to help improve cell service. The company is paying the church to lease the property.

It's highly controversial, many people who live nearby don't want it claiming it will be an eyesore and is too close to a residential area.

Due to federal regulations, town leaders could do little to stop the plan. Those regulations, put in place by the F.C.C., give towns like Pittsford little wiggle room to deny cell tower applications.

The planning board approved the plans last April, giving Verizon the green light to begin construction. So what's the hold up? 

Verizon still needs to complete the building permit application.

"I just learned recently they [Verizon] are 99% finished with the building application process and they intend to start building once they get it. so that should begin happening before too long," Smith said.

According to Smith, there is nothing that would cause the town to deny the application; it's simply a formality.

The tower plan has been revised over the years. According to the original plans when it was first introduced, it was to stand nearly 100 feet tall and was to be disguised to look like a tree.

Based on numerous complaints, Verizon lowered it to 80 feet and it will be made to look like an additional church bell tower to compliment the structure nearby.

As for an exact date to start construction, neither Verizon nor the town could give Pat an answer, saying once again, it's expected to begin "very soon."

If you have a question you'd like answered, send Pat an email at GoodQuestion@whec.com

Credits

Pat Taney

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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