By Robin Jovanovich
One year ago, the City Council was ready to approve an application from Crown Castle on behalf of Verizon Wireless to install 64 additional DAS (distributed antenna system) nodes to remedy “a significant coverage gap” and ensure that individuals, business, and emergency services would have “reliable” wireless communication service. Mayor Joe Sack went so far as to write a column in a local newspaper encouraging the plan because upgrades were needed. But upon learning the news, and encouraged by Councilmember Emily Hurd to participate in the public process, residents were quick to voice their opposition to the plan, primarily because many of those nodes would be installed in the residential right-of-way, right in their front yards. And if the application were approved, every other wireless provider would follow and have the right to install even more.
A citizen’s committee that began last June with two, Josh Cohn and Trish Agosta, quickly became dozens. They networked and hired their own consultants. Soon, over 1,100 residents signed a petition to protect residential Rye. Over the course of a year, more and more residents have done their research, read public documents, pored over cellular coverage maps, found out what other communities have done when a wireless provider made a similar application. (Several towns have voted to prohibit DAS nodes in rights-of-way and the applicant has moved on.) What most Rye residents now understand is that the unit’s internal cooling fans make them noisy, above noise levels in the City Code. (One resident compared the noise to having a dishwasher next to your bedroom.) Homeowners also discovered that property values suffer when poles and boxes line residential neighborhoods.
During public hearings, residents have asked for alternatives to minimize the visual and community character-changing impact: stealth towers; installing units on existing facilities and on or near commercial areas and on public buildings; and reducing the total number of units. They’ve also made a strong case that technology is changing so quickly that what’s installed today will be outmoded.
To date there have been 14 public meetings, two public coffees, and, on Monday night, a special Council meeting to discuss proposed amendments to the City Code regarding noise, placement of permanent facilities in the rights-of-way, and wireless telecommunications facilities. Deputy Mayor Julie Killian, presiding at the special meeting, began the discussion by noting that, “It’s complicated.”
By Tommy Mulvoy
My grandfather was an immigrant, I married an immigrant, and am now one myself. At first glance, the circumstances behind each of our immigrations look different, but in reality, each of our decisions to emigrate from our places of birth was based on the desire for a better life. The national discourse surrounding immigration over the past 18 months, and more specifically the last few weeks, has had me thinking deeply about my relationship with immigration and immigrants and how that coincides with the term that most people would call me and my wife — expatriates.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out the “real” difference between an expat and an immigrant. According to the Oxford dictionary, an expatriate is “someone who lives outside their native country” while an immigrant is someone who “comes to live permanently in a foreign country.”
If that is the case, the Pew Research Center report published this past fall, which stated that more Mexicans are now leaving the U.S than arriving, should encourage Americans to refer to Mexicans in the U.S. as expats and not immigrants. And, a closer look at my family’s history has left me even more confused about the two terms.
At a City Hall ceremony to promote two members of the Rye Police Department, Commissioner of Public Safety Michael Corcoran told the audience that Rye should be very proud of being named the safest city in Westchester County and the second safest in New York.
City Clerk Carolyn D’Andrea then swore in Michael Anfuso as a new lieutenant and Albert Hein as a new sergeant.
A Rye native, Lt. Anfuso has been on the force for 18 years. He was assigned to the Detective Division. Sgt. Hein hails from Mount Vernon and has ten years of service in Rye. He was assigned to the Patrol Division.
– <Photo by Tom McDermott>