Woodside Orchards in Aquebogue agreed to change the location of a proposed 130-foot Verizon cell tower on its property so it meets a “fall zone,” which would prevent the structure from landing on neighboring property if it falls.
The company had requested a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals to locate the cell tower 66 feet from its western property line rather than the required 130 feet. Woodside Orchards, owned by the Gammon family, withdrew that request and instead will locate it on a part of the property where it will meet the fall zone requirement, according to ZBA attorney Scott DeSimone.
The cell tower will still require a special permit from the Town Board as well as site plan approval from the Planning Board, Mr. DeSimone said. The special permit would come first.
Woodside Orchards, located on Main Road, sells hard cider at the three-acre site and also has an apple orchard.
The application, done in conjunction with Verizon Wireless, ran into opposition at a March 24 ZBA hearing, where several residents opposed it. More than 40 letters in opposition were submitted at the time.
Residents opposing the application said there are enough cell towers in Riverhead and that the tower would be “intrusive” and ruin the landscape in the area. Others pointed out that the western neighbor, the side where the variance was sought, is a group home for Aid to the Developmentally Disabled.
Bailey Larkin, the attorney for the applicant, had told the ZBA that it could build the tower without ZBA variances by placing it in the middle of the orchard, rather than on the western part of the orchard, but said “It is an active orchard and we’re trying to minimize any disturbance to the existing agricultural use.”
She said putting the tower in the middle of the orchard “would be a significant disruption” to the orchard.
However, Mr. DeSimone said that is now the current proposal.
Photo Caption: Woodside Orchards in Aquebogue. (Credit: Tim Gannon)