Mr. Keith Richey wrote a long Op-Ed yesterday [Feb. 23] in NewCanaanite.com explaining his rationale for erecting a cell tower on his residence in New Canaan. Foremost, let me say on behalf of our neighborhood (Soundview and Hidden Meadow Lanes, as well as Laurel, North Wilton and Deep Valley Roads, as well as extended neighbors) that his facts are simply wrong.
Keith and Marina Richey did nothing to inform their neighbors, including St. Luke’s School, of their intentions, plans and negotiations to build a cell tower with Homeland Towers. This lack of transparency is astonishing for a community that prides itself on neighborly civility. For the record, we as neighbors first learned of the Richeys’ plans mid February, and it was not until they were called out that the Richeys came clean with their cell tower lease. In fact their site plans show planning for the cell tower early in 2017 with revisions starting in August of 2017.
Mr. Richey can wax eloquent on his rationale for “saving” the neighborhood from St. Luke’s School planning a cell tower on their property and helping us by negotiating his own deal. The fact remains that St. Luke’s School had no plans to erect a cell tower on their property. St. Luke’s has gone on record to this point and has further questioned the lack of due process employed here, calling the town to look for alternative sites. Yet the Richeys seized the day (and presumably the financial opportunity) to “protect” us all. If you are a resident of New Canaan, ask yourself what precedent this sets for your street and neighborhood. Now can any resident secretly do a deal with a cell tower concern, benefitting from financial gains at your expense? And I might add with potential risks to the health of your family and certain risks to your property values?
Per First Selectman [Kevin] Moynihan’s position in this week’s New Canaan Advertiser, which appears to support this unprecedented private residential cell tower deal, let me say that we as a neighborhood feel betrayed. We were not part of the conversation even though the town had led conversations in our neighborhood, unbeknownst to us, on lease opportunities dating back to early 2017. These are not the town values we bought into. We are typical citizens. We commute and work for our families each day. The town government’s job is to represent the public. We have to date had no say in this unprecedented move to erect a cell tower that not only threatens neighborhoods, but which is also only 250 feet away from student classrooms at St. Luke’s School.
The lack of transparency in all of this is astonishing and should be an alarm bell for every New Canaan resident.
Hugh Wiley, a concerned neighbor and 30-year resident of New Canaan