Cell phone service focus of Middletown ZBA hearing

By Pauline Liu
Visitors and residents, who’ve long complained about the lack of cell phone service in the region, may be getting some relief in the months to come.

On Thursday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. Margaretville businessman Peter Molnar will appear before the Middletown Zoning Board of Appeals to request a zoning variance for land that he owns off county Route 38 on the Arkville-Margaretville border. By all accounts, he appears to be taking initial steps to have a cell-phone tower installed on his property.

While Molnar isn’t talking about the project, he did not return phone calls or answer e-mail, neighboring property owners have all been notified of the hearing. One of the owners of an adjacent property said he was told that the site was being considered for a cell tower. Middletown Code Enforcement Officer Pat Davis has confirmed that information.

Molnar is seeking to subdivide his 19-acre property above Titan Drilling and carve out a smaller portion into what Davis refers to as a “flag lot,” because on a map it looks like a ladle or a flag. “Peter is trying to do a subdivision and take that flag lot off the parcel for a cell tower lease,” said Davis.

Molnar has already indicated that he wants to build a road on the subdivided portion of property. A meeting to consider that subdivision is set for January 12 at 6:30 p.m. In the meantime, he will try to obtain a zoning variance for the road project because the grade is too steep to meet code for a subdivision road. “The pole (road) part of the flag lot cannot exceed a 10-percent grade, “ explained Davis. “If there is a structure built up there, it would be hard to get an emergency vehicle up there if the property exceeds a 10 percent grade,” he added.