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Editorial: Don't put cell tower in residential neighborhood

Editorial: Don't put cell tower in residential neighborhood

Even if it's needed for race track, cell tower doesn't belong among houses

Verizon has one of the best reputations for wireless phone service, and understandably wants to keep it that way for the tens of thousands of people who attend Saratoga Race Course during the summer season. But a plan to build a 100-foot antenna tower on a residential parcel across the street from the track seems seriously misguided.

The parcel. at the corner of Nelson Avenue and Crescent Street, contains a house and a large yard that the absentee landlord owner uses to park cars on during the annual racing meet. That, apparently, doesn’t bring him enough return on his investment, so he wants to rent out a corner of his lot to Verizon, so it can build one of those fake pine-tree antennas to sit on top of a 12-by-30-foot equipment shed.

That the plan would need a number of variances to go forward speaks volumes about how misguided it is. For example, it would be positioned just 16 feet from one property line and 18 feet from another — less than half the required 45-foot distance. Is it any wonder that neighbors in the residential neighborhood just learning about the proposal have been skeptical?

Verizon’s cell service in that area of town is reportedly pretty decent, but there are concerns about demand on busy racing days. Well, if it’s the case, why not build the tower at the track? It can probably be hidden among the tall trees along the backstretch better than it can be among the small houses of Nelson Avenue. Goodness knows, those residents are already being put upon enough during the six-week racing season; they shouldn’t have to look at an ugly cellphone tower the rest of the year as well.

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