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Proposed cellular towers meet stiff opposition in Cheektowaga

Residents voiced concerns over migratory birds, endangered species and flood control Tuesday night during public hearings to discuss two cellular monopoles proposed in Cheektowaga.

The public hearings preceded the regular session of the Cheektowaga Town Board in Council Chambers at Town Hall at 3301 Broadway.

Upstate Tower Co. and Buffalo Lake Erie Wireless proposed building two 150-foot single-pole structures -- one on Transit Road behind Madeira Drive and the other on a 60-by-60-foot fenced-in parcel behind the James J. Matecki Center, just west of Stiglmeier Park, at 500 Losson Road.

Both sites are town-owned properties.

"It's a visual impact to be sitting outside my house looking up at this ugly tower with a blinking red light," said William R. Palumbo of Dubonnet Drive.

Larry Brzosk has lived more than 40 years on Madeira Drive, in the second house built on the street.

"When I sit in my living room, I will be able to see the tower day in and day out," Brzosk said.

While the objections to the Transit Road location were vigorous, not one person voiced a complaint over the monopole proposed on Losson near Stiglmeier Park.

The two locations were proposed as replacements for a site originally chosen at 294 N. Seine Drive, where a proposed 135-foot cell tower at the Southline Athletic baseball and softball fields was met with vigorous disapproval.

The tower, critics said at a meeting last February, would be the equivalent of a 10-story building in the largely residential surrounding area.

"We were able to work with the municipality to find two replacement sites," said Corey A. Auerbach, an attorney with Barclay Damon, who represented Upstate and Lake Erie Wireless. "The two tower solution is to replace the North Seine Drive site."

Auerbach said each monopole will be made of galvanized gray steel and have three microwave antennas, nine panel antennas and three radio receivers.

One by one, residents addressed the Cheektowaga lawmakers.

Michelle Paladino delivered a passionate defense of wildlife that inhabit the proposed site of one monopole located behind a muffler business on Transit Road in Depew.

"What about the animals who live back there, the turtles, cranes, ducks and geese?" asked Paladino. "There are a lot of them. I have been told from the day I bought my house that this was protected wetlands. Who is lying here?"

"It is our flood area," Paladino said. "It was bought for the sole purpose to keep our houses from flooding. How is a cell tower not going to affect flood control?"

A decision is expected by May, said Daniel J. Ulatowski, the town's planner.

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