Depew residents call into question need for additional cell towers

DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB) — While a deal to bring at least three cell phone towers to the village of Depew is far from inked, residents and members of the village’s fire department packed the municipal building Monday night armed with plenty of questions.

Blue Wireless, a second-tier carrier, and Upstate Tower, want to build at least three towers similar to the one that sits atop the Depew village hall, currently used for police communication.

It stands at 125 feet. The company is proposing to add 30 feet in height to that tower and another 125-foot structure located at the village’s DPW building.

“I have a concern with cluttering up the skyline in Depew with this,” said one resident.

The company is also proposing to build a new 155-foot tower near Taylor Drive. A fourth is still being negotiated.

“To sell us four towers that would benefit us, when you already have towers that you’re looking at at the end of the street where the Depew equipment can actually be placed upon, that’s the issue that a majority of the people who are against it actually have,” another resident said.

Officials also say the additional towers would eliminate so-called dead zones in the village’s nearly five square miles, for residents and police and fire services.

Blue Wireless is sweetening the deal as well. They’re proposing to provide internet, cellular and wireless services to village staff and updated equipment for their police and fire departments.

A member of the team negotiating the deal said the village could save more than $38,000 by entering into a contract with Blue Wireless. It could generate another $30,000 if it allows other carriers — like Verizon or AT&T — to essentially rent space on the towers to broaden their coverage.

“We applaud the village on engaging the public as early as possible and that’s why we’ve availed ourselves to be here and answer questions,” said Corey Auerbach, attorney for Barclay Damon, a firm representing Blue Wireless. “If the project moves forward, we would hope to move forward quickly.”

Just how quickly that is remains to be seen.

Even after Monday’s public hearing, which gave residents the opportunity to have their voices heard and questions answered, the deal is still be negotiated.

It would still have to be approved by the village’s planning board, and then it would head back to the village board for a final approval. That whole process could take months.

 

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