By Peter Jovanovich
At the March 1 City Council meeting, Mayor Joe Sack indicated that Crown Castle’s latest proposal to install cell phone towers is “not one that this Council is likely to approve.” On February 24, the company submitted a further iteration of their proposal to build cell phone towers around Rye. Action on the application must be taken by the March 15 Council meeting.
The Mayor acknowledged that the City has been in discussion with Crown Castle, but this latest plan to build towers, a so-called “Plan C” would not meet the approbation of the Council. All other Councilmembers, including the plan’s principal opponent, Councilmember Emily Hurd, concurred.
The Council is also considering the approval of a new local law governing cell towers. After input from the community, a new draft of the law will be made available to the public in advance of the March 15 meeting. The Mayor thanked the citizen’s committee for their advice, which “we may incorporate in whatever final product is put forth at the next Council meeting.”
Regarding the new law, Joseph Van Eaton, recently hired consultant-attorney representing the City in the Crown Castle affair, “We want the priority to be for construction on existing towers or existing supporting structures. New towers will not be permitted in existing right-of-ways.”
Resident Bob Zahm asked if the new law would take into account the requirement for raised equipment in flood zone areas like Indian Village. He noted that the new law’s 8-foot height standard might not be adequate in such areas.
Paul Benowitz, local architect and former member of the Planning Commission, inquired if the definition of “environmentally-sensitive areas” conforms with Federal regulation. Kristen Wilson, Rye’s Corporation Counsel, stated that the draft law relied on Federal definitions as the basis of the proposed statute.
– <Additional reporting by Tom McDermott>