Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Antennas Approved

Tonight, in a special meeting, the Planning Board gave site plan approval to Verizon to install communications antennas on Providence Hall at 119 Columbia Street. 

At the outset of the meeting, Steve Steim, who now chairs the Planning Board, said he hoped the meeting would take no more than ninety minutes, explaining that he had a "hard stop" at 6:30. The meeting, which included an attorney-client privilege session that lasted for about half an hour, didn't end until 7:11. In the two hours, the board reviewed and discussed the notice of determination under SEQRA and the resolution the board would be voting on. The resolution includes such conditions as a deed restriction on the property prohibiting for twenty years other wireless providers from locating equipment on the building, no changes in the height of the antennas or changes in service from 4G to 5G without approval from the Planning Board, and approval by an architect chosen by the Planning Board on the final plans for the stealthing. 

When it came time to vote on the resolution, Theresa Joyner voted no, reminding her colleagues that not one member of the public had spoken in favor of the proposal. Speaking to the community, Joyner said, "Your long and strong opposition is not being ignored by me." Apparently addressing visitors, she said, "So what if you don't have service. You can live with that." Laura Margolis also voted no, arguing that it was inappropriate to install wireless equipment in a residential neighborhood. The other five members of the Planning Board--John Cody, Gene Shetsky, Larry Bowne, Clark Wieman, and Steim--voted in favor in the resolution. After voting, Bowne observed, "All this hard work has done a great service to the community." He expressed his unhappiness with the applicant, asserting that the shot clock had run out because Verizon had not responded to their requests in a timely fashion, and commended Joyner for her "eloquence and conviction."

1 comment:

  1. I think this is such a shame. Regardless of reasons the one thing that is clear, is that the residents of Providence Hall are strongly opposed to the antenna installation. They are also largely People of Color, and low income. It is a very bad precent to impose this on people who don't have a lot of power or agency in the situation, as has been done for generations. It is wrong not to respect and honor their concerns and force something they are so opposed to, because they have no legal say.