Putnam Plans Golf Course Cellular Tower

OK also sheriff body cameras, license plate readers

On Tuesday, June 7, Putnam lawmakers moved to build a 160-foot cell tower behind the clubhouse at the Putnam County Golf Course, which the county has attempted to upgrade with federal funding.

At its official monthly meeting in Carmel, the nine-person legislature declared itself the “lead agency,” or authority, to sign off on a state-mandated environmental review for the tower.

The tower is a project by Homeland Towers, which previously sued Philipstown and Nelsonville after refusing permits for 120ft and 95ft towers, respectively. Both cases ended in settlements, but the Nelsonville Tower is now embroiled in disputes with neighbors.

The golf course tower would occupy a 3,600 square foot complex, surrounded by an 8 foot fence, in the maintenance yard. It would contain wireless equipment for commercial telecommunications companies, as well as county and municipal emergency services, according to the legislature and a memo from On Air Engineering, a Philipstown-based company.

Last February, the Legislature allocated $400,000 in pandemic aid from the U.S. bailout for clubhouse improvements.

In Tuesday’s resolution, lawmakers said the section of the golf course chosen for the tower “is not required for any other use,” that the structure will help “fill significant gaps in reliable wireless service,” and that Putnam wants to install it in a public-private partnership with Homeland. They also said Putnam would explore whether the project is exempt from Mahopac’s zoning laws.

Lawmakers spent less than 25 seconds on the issue on Tuesday, though there was a brief discussion May 19 at the Physical Services Committee about placing the tower in a less conspicuous location.

“It doesn’t seem like a thing of beauty,” said lawmaker Carl Albano of Carmel, who chairs the committee. “Aesthetics are important.” County officials responded that Homeland Towers found the location behind the clubhouse to be the best option.

Albano and his colleagues, including Legislator Nancy Montgomery, who represents Philipstown and part of the Putnam Valley, voted unanimously on June 7 to proceed with the tower review.

Also Tuesday, the Legislature voted 8-1 to spend $15,000 to hire a part-time clerk for the Sheriff’s Department’s Civil Division for the remainder of 2022. Montgomery voted “no.”

“I don’t see the need for this position, especially in light of the need for more boots in the field,” such as a Civil Division assistant who could, in an emergency, also serve in the field – a potential need because “there has obviously been a decrease, a cut, road patrols”, she said.

Southeast Lawmaker Paul Jonke responded that “we should leave it to the sheriff, who was elected, to do that job and make those decisions.” Legislator Ginny Nacerino of Patterson also asserted that “assessing what is needed in the sheriff’s department is within the purview of the sheriff. So let’s keep it that way. »

Sheriff Kevin McConville, a Republican like all lawmakers except Montgomery, who is a Democrat, defeated then-incumbent Sheriff Robert Langley Jr., a Democrat, in November. Unlike McConville, the Legislature frequently questioned Langley about his handling of the department.

Now, “it’s obviously a different scenario” from Langley’s days, “when the sheriff had no jurisdiction over what was good for his department,” Montgomery said Tuesday.

In other matters involving the sheriff’s department, the legislature voted unanimously to equip officers and patrol cars with body cameras and license plate readers.

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