Blooming Grove — The residents came looking for a fight. They left with a flagless flagpole.

Blooming Grove — The residents came looking for a fight. They left with a flagless flagpole.

A handful of homeowners who live along Routes 94 and 208 came to a Planning Board hearing Wednesday night to oppose 150-foot cell towers to be erected at two locations near their homes.

But the tower arguments they came prepared to make with pointed questions about ruined scenic views and environmental review were moot. The Town Board approved the towers a month earlier with no need for Planning Board approval because both will be on town property. The board also approved a zoning exemption for the company, Homeland Towers, to build the towers in rural residential areas that would not normally permit such structures.

What was left for planners to decide was whether the design should be a tree or flagpole: flag or sans, and whether it should be white or gray: light or dark.

"The Planning Board's role here is very, very limited," said Chairman Ralph Maffei.

"The town took actions independent of us," added Planning Board member Mary Ellen Rogulski.

For more than a month, residents have been fighting the proposed cell towers to be built by Homeland, which will, in turn, lease antenna space to wireless companies. Homeland will pay Blooming Grove $25,000 per tower and then between $2,000 and $3,000 a month depending on how many antennas are installed.

Andrea Fitch, who lives across from the Department of Public Works garage on Route 94 where one of the towers will be built, collected more than 700 signatures protesting the tower. On her dining room table are spread out town maps, recent board resolutions and the zoning code. Through the large south-facing window, when the trees are leafless, Fitch has a view of Schunemunk Mountain. Soon, too, she'll be able to see the flagless flagpole.

"The public, they're not opposed to cell towers as much as the location," she said.

In another part of town, Kathy Aldinger printed up 100 anti-tower signs and handed them out to neighbors and posted them in local businesses.

Residents also voiced health concerns of being near the towers. "We're leery of it," Aldinger said. "We don't know the health effects of it yet, it's almost like cigarette smoking 25 years ago."