Moratorium Today, Master Plan for the Future

SCDT Moratorium Master Plan Petition
Sign to Support Sensible Wireless Infrastructure in Amherst, NY!

Please sign and share this petition if you agree that Amherst should enact a moratorium on communications towers, monopoles, and antennas, as well as pursue a smarter approach to cell network development by commissioning a Town-wide master plan for wireless telecommunication facilities!

Direct link to the online petition ➣

On April 3, 2017, I attended the 7pm Amherst Town Board regular meeting. During public expression I read the following statement to voice my support for this town-wide moratorium and commission of a master plan.

“I am here tonight to urge the Town Board to support sensible wireless infrastructure development in Amherst.

Municipalities across the country and right here in Western New York are struggling to manage the proliferation of wireless telecommunications facilities within their boundaries. The Town of Amherst is seeing a dramatic increase in applications for cell towers and micro cells—medium-sized, single antennas that are attached to existing structures like utility poles. Amherst Town Code is grievously out of date and inadequate at handling these requests.

Furthermore, the lack of a master plan for wireless telecommunications infrastructure in Amherst leaves the Town at a disadvantage, unprotected from the wireless companies’ incessant demands. As a result, Amherst has consistently been hesitant to deny any applications for cell towers and antennas due to fear of legal reprisal, even in cases where the need for them has not been justified.

Verizon, Blue Wireless and their competitors rely on a “divide and conquer” approach, going from neighborhood to neighborhood, cherry picking sites, and preventing thoughtful cell tower and micro cell placement. This underhanded business strategy has proven largely successful to this point since few communities have been able to organize in time to defend their neighborhoods. Unless it becomes easier for residents to have access to the long-term plans for wireless infrastructure and to collectively scrutinize the wireless companies’ actions, our Town will be at the mercy of large corporations whose primary motivation is increasing their own profits and who have no investment in the quality of life in Amherst.

Amherst’s Zoning Board of Appeals just this March received 12 Verizon applications for new micro cell sites. Verizon claims that these are required to serve areas where residents report no concerns about wireless coverages. The reality is almost certainly that they are surreptitiously laying the ground for the rollout of new “fifth generation” or 5G, a largely untested technology. Verizon wants to place these 12 new antennas on top of National Grid Utility poles in Town right of ways—many adjacent to or in front of homes and schools. If this is allowed to continue, every utility poll in the Town will become a potential wireless antenna site.

As a resident of Amherst, I support a moratorium on all new wireless telecommunications facilities including communications towers, monopoles, antennas, and micro cells in Amherst until revisions to Town Code can be enacted.

I also support the inclusion of a master plan for the smart and sustainable development of wireless telecommunications infrastructure in Amherst’s revised comprehensive plan. This master plan would ensure that the needs of residents are given priority over the business plans of corporations. Amherst is currently undergoing an extensive process to revise its comprehensive plan as part of its Imagine Amherst initiative, making this an ideal time for it to consider how to best regulate wireless infrastructure in the Town.”

To view comprehensive maps of the proposed, pending, and existing cell towers in Amherst, NY as of April 1, 2016, click HERE. (These maps do not include any micro cell sites.)

Link to the video of the April 3rd, 2017, Town Board meeting:

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