In a special board meeting today, the town of Oneonta will consider _ among other items _ instituting a six-month moratorium on new cell phone towers.
While no determination is expected until the board's Aug. 12 meeting, today is an opportunity for the town to begin determining what its priorities should be when it comes to folks being able to use their cell phones throughout the West End area.
Richard Comi, a former Cellular One executive who works with municipalities on cell-tower issues, will discuss the town's options in regulating the placement and appearance of towers.
Comi, according to Town Supervisor Robert Wood, says a moratorium would be a good idea.
We don't disagree, providing the town actually uses the six months to formulate a cogent plan rather than just pushing the question down the road until after the November elections.
The tower issue has come to the fore two weeks after a request by Verizon Wireless to place a cell tower near the National Soccer Hall of Fame off state Route 205 was denied by the town Zoning Board of Appeals.
The tower is needed to provide Verizon service to customers in the city and town of Oneonta who are blocked by Oyaron Hill, where Hartwick College is located, said a Verizon representative.
A moratorium would shield the town from having to immediately react to an appeal by Verizon or to requests to put a tower at one of six other nearby sites that were considered by the company.
More importantly, it would give the town time to determine what its top priority should be. If it's having a pristine view, then that's fine.
If it's providing cell phone service to an area that lacks it, then that's fine, too.
We regret that a public meeting on whether to institute a moratorium will be held on the same Aug. 12 date in which a decision will be made by the town board.
We would think that if the public's opinions were really important that the members would have more time to consider them.
There would seem to be an inevitability about citizens' demands for cell phone service just about everywhere. If a moratorium helps the town board come to the wisest decision to achieve that goal in the town, then it's probably a good idea.