OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Monday night, the Common Council approved a special use permit for the Verizon Wireless Telecommunications facility located at 132 Ellen St. (The Gardens).
The vote was 5-1-1. Councilor Nate Emmons was absent and Councilor John Gosek cast the lone nay vote.
During the public hearing, a couple of speakers raised concerns regarding structural integrity of the tower, the possibility of a fire and also some health concerns.
Councilor Robert Corradino noted that this would be the only such facility in that area.
“I will support this. But I think it is because of the greater good,” he said. “Because there aren’t more than this one, I feel I can live with this.”
The facility will provide better coverage and help ensure that someone’s call isn’t dropped in the event of an emergency, he explained.
As long as the facility meets the federal regulations and guidelines, it can’t be opposed on the grounds of health issues, Councilor Gosek said.
That was the reason he was opposed to the request.
“I’m opposing this because we don’t have any local control,” he said. “According to the application, I don’t have any say.”
At the public hearing, Cindy Snyder raised the concern of the impact strong winds might have on the tower. She also asked what is the possibility that the antenna could start an electrical fire on top of the building that houses elderly people. And, what impact would the facility’s emissions have on people that had pace makers, she asked.
Steve Fitzsimmons said he was concerned about the electro-magnetic field that comes off the tower.
There would be an area cordoned off, with signage, on the roof around the tower and the emissions are directed at Verizon towers and would have no affect of people at street level, a Verizon spokesman pointed out.
“As far as somebody on the fourth floor of the assisted living facility or someone in a stairwell, that’s not going to be an issue,” the city’s project consultant agreed. “The neighborhood, the homes around (the facility), people walking around on the street and residents of the building – it’s not an issues as far as the emissions.”
The tower is also created to withstand high winds as well as ice build up, the company spokesman said, adding “Verizon has as much interest in keeping those antennas up as anyone else.”
There is no more chance of an electrical fire (at an antenna site) as there is anywhere else, he noted.