Village hears cell tower complaint

Red Hook resident Chris LiPuma confronted the Village Board at its April 9 meeting with several concerns about the cellular equipment installed on and around the village water tower at the end of Tower Street.

LiPuma, who lives next to the water tower, wanted to know what the village can do to address the noise from the cooling stations and the possible health risks posed by tower emissions to those living closest to the antennas.

Noise has increasingly become an issue for LiPuma and his family, he said. Over the years, cellular companies have upgraded equipment and a larger number of companies have leased space. The noise is generated by the cooling systems installed in the ground- level equipment sheds, one of which sits very close to his property line.

“It is a residential neighborhood and I can’t even leave my window open at night because of the amount of noise generated by those things” LiPuma said.

He also asked if the board had done anything to determine whether there was a possible health risks from emissions from the tower and whether the village measures the site levels independently or from cellular company data.

In response to LiPuma’s concerns, David Groth, an engineer contracted by the village to oversee the site, said there was no definitive evidence to suggest the level and type of emissions created by cell phone towers pose health risks.

Groth said he did an independent survey last fall to determine if the cell equipment on Tower Street was in line with Federal Communications Commission regulations on maximum exposure levels. Using hand-held equipment, he identified the peak emission level as only reaching 7.4 percent of the maximum level allowed and the average level was only 3.4 percent.

As for the noise, Groth told the board there are some types of cooling systems that may be less intrusive then the ones currently in use. For example, he said, T-Mobile is expected to move onto the site with equipment that does not require cooling fans or air-conditioning units.

Space on the water tower is leased to cell companies by the village. According to Mayor Blundell, the village currently makes a total of $68,000 a year from cell company lease agreements.

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