RYE, N.Y. -- A growing number of Rye residents are trying to put a stop to the installation of mini cell towers on residential properties throughout town without the approval of the homeowners.
The group -- Protect Residential Rye -- is working to prevent the City Council from making an agreement with Verizon Wireless and their contractor Crown Castle that would allow them to add antennae and equipment boxes to 64 existing utility poles located mostly on residential properties.
The measure would also allow Crown Castle and other contractors to erect additional mini cell towers on other residential properties throughout town without owner approval.
Rye residents and lawyers Joshua Cohn and Patricia Agosta have been leading the charge against the plan.
“It is astonishing that the Council would allow private companies to impose unwanted cell towers on its constituents,” Cohn said. “There is an alternative proposal that would use municipal or commercial properties for any needed towers, and that’s what they should endorse.”
Opponents are concerned the towers would reduce property values and change the character of the community.
The City Council was tentatively slated to discuss and possibly vote on the issue on Wed., Dec. 7, after a public hearing at Rye City Hall, but no vote took place.
The Council and Crown Castle are negotiating based on a “Right of Way Use Agreement” they signed in 2011. Opponents of the plan point to the city’s wireless law, which was created to protect people’s private properties from unwanted intrusions.
Agosta believes Verizon should focus on keeping its commitments to provide broadband in underserved communities rather than trying to force additional services on towns that already have excellent data access.
To learn more about the effort, visit Protect Residential Rye .