CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – The Town of Cheektowaga has canceled next week’s public hearing about a proposed 135-foot cell tower at an athletic complex, as the town continues to work with developers to find an alternate site.
Up State Tower Construction and Buffalo -Lake Erie Wireless Systems (Blue Wireless) have applied for a special use permit to build the tower at 294 North Seine Drive, the site of the Southline Little League softball and baseball diamonds. That field, however, sits directly in the middle of several residential streets.
After receiving notification of the proposal, neighbors have aired a series of complaints, arguing the large tower could pose a safety risk for children playing on the fields and could even cause property values to decrease. Joseph Benaglio, who has lived next to the Southline Little League fields on North Seine for 35 years, said he originally did not have an issue with the proposed tower until he began attending public meetings with other neighbors.
“I’ve got a bunch of grandkids, and they all play ball here. And I’m concerned because they play on that back diamond, right where the tower’s gonna be,” Benaglio said. “It’s pretty tall.”
The town’s law department confirmed Thursday that the developer is working with the town to review at least three alternate sites in Cheektowaga. Two of the sites are on Losson Road: Stiglmeier Park and a plot of land near the Julia Boyer Reinstein Library. The third site is a vacant piece of property behind a Ted’s Hot Dogs restaurant on Transit Road.
Cheektowaga Town Councilman Jim Rogowski said Thursday he prefers that vacant site behind Ted’s.
“It’s less of an impact to residents. It’s in a business area,” Rogowski said. “If we’re doing this, let’s not hurt people in their own backyards.”
An attorney for Upstate Tower and Blue Wireless forwarded 2 On Your Side’s request for comment to the companies themselves, but representatives have not yet responded.
Rogowski said he understands the need for new cell towers and improved services, but he hopes the town and the companies can find another solution.
“Everybody wants that 5G network,” Rogowski said. “Everybody understands that everybody wants high-powered technology. It’s just a matter of where we put these towers.”