The Town of Glenville Police Department is in the final phase of installing a new communications system, which includes the construction of a tower in the Church Road area of town.
The structure will be one of a network of four large towers and a small one at the department that will allow officials to update their communications system they have that was originally put in place in the mid-1980s.
The Church Road tower is drawing some criticism about its proximity to a residential area. Church Road resident Ed Capovani said the 180-foot tower would be located only 450 feet away from his home. He said that the tower will look out of place in the neighborhood and will decrease the value of his property. He said he also has concerns for the health of his family, as well as problems the tower may cause with the electronics in his home.
The town said this location was recommended to them by a consultant, however they could have looked at alternative locations, said Capovani.
Police Lt. Richard Conley said he is confident that the police department has chosen the optimal site for the tower, which he said is safe and is being constructed for the purpose of improving public safety and not diminishing it.
He said the tower is nothing more than a small microwave dish that is not even capable of being a cell phone tower, in terms of the strength of its signals.
`All studies indicate that there is no reason to suspect any sort of health problems or disturbances to homes from a tower of this nature,` said Conley.
Conley said the current system the department has been using to communicate with police cars is only between 35 and 40 percent adequate. The recommended standard is 96 percent. He said implementing the new system, including updating the four other existing towers, will cost around $1.5 million.
`It’s a project that we have been looking at and working on for a long time. This tower is not something we decided to put up overnight, and we have had several informational sessions, including the public hearing last week,` said Conley.
Capovani disagrees that residents had ample notification or information regarding the project, saying many did not receive a letter until April 7.
Capovani said the police department has been very forthcoming with answers to his questions, but he still feels that communications with residents was lacking.
`The town really needs to work on their communication process. I have lived here all my life and put my blood, sweat and tears into my home ` my biggest investment ` and surely having a tower this close to my front door will in some way affect the value of my home, as well as the quality of life,` said Capovani.
Conley said at least 30 other sites were looked at during the process of choosing a location for the tower. He also said the department did a red balloon test in the fall to check the visual impact of the tower. The public hearing held last week was somewhat of a courtesy to the public, said Conley.
`We did not even need to hold a public hearing, but we want the Church Road residents to know that a lot of research went in to picking this location. It’s been something we have been looking at for years,` said Conley.
Completion of the police communications overhaul is expected by late fall.