2017-04-12 / Front Page

County cell tower plans spark debate

Tempers flare over process used for projects
By Joan Lawrence-Bauer

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The County giveth and the

The County giveth and the County taketh away... Delaware County (along with local municipalities, the M-ARK Project, Ulster County and others) have spent considerable time and resources promoting the newly-designated Route 28 Scenic Byway. Included in these efforts is the panoramic scenic overlook at the top of Palmer Hill. There is a parking area, signage at the site, as well as promotional signs on either side of the hill, promoting it. And well worth it, it is spectacular in every season; always a delight. Now, another wing of the Delaware County seeks to destroy that glorious viewshed by insisting on placement of a communications tower on Swart Road, in direct view from the scenic overlook. County officials are not even willing to discuss other possible site locations. I'm not going to debate whether we need better communications -- OF COURSE WE DO! (turn off your phone if you don't like it) but the County has made an express decision to make tourism (and ecotourism) a prime focus of economic development -- the scenic byway, the recent I Love NY campaigns emphasizing our all-season outdoor opportunities. Realize that eminent domain and building a long road to access the tower are very expensive endeavors -- let's see if we can lower those costs while preserving an iconic site. So if an alternative spot were available that could accomplish substantially the same goal(s) but with less visual impact, and perhaps at a substantial cost savings, shouldn't we at least explore the possibility? I say yes and I urge readers to voice their support for that goal as well. Jerry Stein, Denver, NY
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