Cell Tower Plan To Be Heard By Zoning Board

For the third time since September, the Jamestown Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing today for representatives of Verizon Wireless who are proposing to install a cellphone tower in a city residential neighborhood.

Nixon Peabody, attorneys for Bell Atlantic Mobile Systems, have petitioned for the use and area variance to install a 100-foot wireless telecommunications tower adjacent to 40 Hallock St., which is owned by Chandler Street Baptist Church, also known as Hillcrest Baptist Church. The area is zoned R-1, single-family residential, and according to the zoning laws for the city, cellphone towers are only permitted in a commercial or manufacturing zone. Also, the city’s zoning laws state that cell towers should not exceed 60 feet in height, but the proposed tower is 100 feet.

The petition for the cellphone tower was also previously heard during the zoning boards’ September and November meetings. Both times the variance petition was tabled so Verizon could provide more information to the zoning board about where else they have looked in the city for the proposed cell tower, potential draining issues at the proposed site and the access roads for installing the tower.

During both previous hearings, several residents who live on Hallock Street or on nearby streets attended to voice their objection to allowing the installation of a cell tower in a residential neighborhood. In November, Marie Carrubba, Jamestown City Council president who represents Ward 4 where the tower is proposed to be installed, said she collected 63 signatures on a petition from residents who oppose the cell tower. She said, seeing that it would be the first cell tower allowed in a residential zone if approved, the zoning board should be careful about starting a bad precedent for the rest of the city.

David Wilfong, Chautauqua County legislator representing the city, said he has heard from many constituents who are against the cell tower proposal. He said it is the issue that has prompted more calls than any other issue during his tenure as a county legislator.

The zoning board hearing will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the council chambers, located on the second floor of the city Municipal Building, located at 200 E. Third St.