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Wireless Facility Proposed for Top of Gramatan Tower: What Are the Issues? PDF Print Email


By Staff

Apr. 3, 2019:  On March 13, the Bronxville Planning Board held a public meeting at Bronxville Village Hall.  The room was packed to capacity with concerned residents and business owners who were there to voice their opinions about a proposed plan to install an AT&T telecommunications wireless facility at 7 Pondfield Road in Bronxville, also known as Gramatan Tower. 

Approval for this proposed facility is requested because, according to AT&T’s site development application, the existing AT&T wireless facility is on top of NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital and the hospital is “opting out of its current lease.”

The meeting lasted only 15 minutes because the planning board told the applicant that it needed to provide additional information to the board as well as give appropriate notice to neighbors. 

Below is a summary of some of the facts and issues related to this proposal.

Who owns Gramatan Tower?

Gramatan Tower (7 Pondfield Road) is owned by Pondfield Associates LLC. 

Robert A. Cohen, president and founder of R. A. Cohen & Associates, a New York City company described on its website as a "real estate investor and manager," is the managing member of Pondfield Associates LLC.  

What are Pondfield Associates and AT&T Proposing?

According to the site development application and subsequent letters, AT&T has been authorized by Pondfield Associates LLC to file an application for approval to construct a wireless facility at 7 Pondfield Road. This would consist of twelve antennas that would be mounted close to the top of the tower. They would be hidden by a “stealth façade" and "slight modifications to the existing roof." This stealth façade would increase the width of the tower by approximately twenty-two inches per side.

The “associated equipment” would be located “within the building except for a generator.” The generator would be installed “upon the roof of the building tower though below the existing roof line.”

What are the Concerns?

Concerns about the plan for a wireless facility in Gramatan Tower include the following:

Health Concerns 

There is a concern about health risks due to continuous radio frequency emissions from the wireless facility affecting children sleeping and living in homes adjacent to antennas and at a nearby school. 

Aesthetic Considerations and Concern for Property Values. 

This new facility would require alterations to Gramatan Tower, including building it out twenty-two inches on all sides as well as adding an emergency back-up generator, which would be tested every week. 

There is a concern that the mere presence of a wireless facility and a back-up generator in the backyard of the owners of the Gramatan townhouses and other residents would reduce property values. 

Lack of an Overall Village Plan for Dealing with Wireless Facilities

Another concern is that this is a one-off situation and the village is not looking at the overall picture of wireless facilities in the village. There are other cell phone facilities currently on NYP-Lawrence Hospital. Will they be relocated? What will happen when 5G launches? The concern is that the village needs to create an overall plan for wireless facilities and these facilities should not be located in areas that are principally residential or near schools.

Structural Concerns

There is concern that the Gramatan Tower structure cannot handle a wireless facility or the vibrations of a generator. There has been no structural analysis of the tower.


Under an easement dating back to 1979, the owners of the Gramatan townhouses are required to “restore, repair, replace, alter and maintain” the elevator and the tower. There is a concern that the addition of the antennas would overburden the owners with increased obligations under the easement.

Historic Preservation

There is a concern about putting these antennas within the last remaining vestige of the historic Hotel Gramatan with its rich history. 

The next meeting of the Village of Bronxville Planning Board to consider this plan is April 10.   

Pictured here: Gramatan Tower.

Photo by N. Bower

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Bronxville Overview

Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.

While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.

Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.

The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.

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