Two Groups Challenge Communications Tower Approval

Aug 20, 2013

Credit Andy Arthur, flickr

Two nonprofit groups have mounted a legal challenge to overturn approval for one cell tower that would replace two towers in Columbia County. They say the tower’s design would compromise views from an historic site.

The Olana Partnership and environmental group Scenic Hudson filed the legal challenge to reverse approval granted July 3 by the Town of Livingston Planning Board for a cell tower atop Blue Hill. The two nonprofit groups had been seeking a compromise that would allow for enhanced communications for emergency service providers while preserving the view for Olana State Historic Site visitors. Blue Hill is already home to two communications towers that are 190-feet tall. Jeffrey Anzevino says these towers are slim with minimal visual impacts. Anzevino, director of Land Use Advocacy for Poughkeepsie-based Scenic Hudson, says the proposed tower would have a significant adverse visual impact as it would be wider and capable of holding many antennas.

Attempts to reach planning board members were unsuccessful. Again, here’s Anzevino.

He says there is a tower design that would be acceptable to Scenic Hudson.

He alleges the planning board failed to take into consideration a letter from the New York State Historic Preservation Office saying the tower would negatively impact views from Olana, which the state agency terms a preeminent historic landmark. Olana is the home and landscape designed by Hudson River School painter Frederic Church. Instead, alleges Anzevino, the board relied upon correspondence from the 1990s.

He says though the legal challenge is filed against the Town of Livingston Planning Board, and it is the planning board’s decision with which Scenic Hudson and The Olana Partnership take issue, the filing names Eger Communications, the applicant for the tower, and Blue Hill Fruit Farms, the property owner.