A proposal by Richard Gere to put a 130-foot cellphone tower on the grounds of his hotel in ritzy Bedford, NY, appears to be headed for approval after a town board meeting Monday, furious residents told The Post.
The “Pretty Woman” actor, who co-owns the eight-room Bedford Post Inn with real estate developer Russell Hernandez, has offered land on their 14-acre estate for the tower, which would fill service gaps for emergency responders in the town.
Now, the site’s executive chef, Roxanne Spruance, who co-owns the hotel’s Michelin-rated bistro, The Barn, is accusing the Bedford Planning Board of ramming through his proposal without considering its impact on the environment or landscape.
“They’re trying to steamroll this through with little fanfare,” Spruance, 38, told The Post. “It’s rough.”
Spruance spoke at Monday’s meeting via video, telling the five-member board the cell tower would dramatically impact the view from her home, which abuts the swanky Bedford Post Inn, where deluxe suites cost as much as $1,075 per night.
“This will be right outside my living room window,” Spruance said. “And we’ve all been places with construction projects going on. It sucks.”
Though the proposed tower at 954 Old Post Road was not approved at Monday’s hearing, residents told The Post it seems like a foregone conclusion.
After the board rejected two previous locations for the cell tower, telecom giant Verizon sued the town, saying a site must be found to cover service gaps, according to a mandate in the Federal Telecommunications Act.
Bedford Town Supervisor Ellen Calves told The Post she asked Gere and Hernandez in June if they would offer the grounds of their hotel for the tower.
“Many members of the public were imploring the town board to find a less intrusive alternative,” Calves told The Post in an email. “Given that the Post Inn property is commercial, and in the town code commercial property is considered ‘less intrusive’ than residential sites, I was looking … to see if they would consider this.”
Spruance, a former “Chopped” champion, has accused Gere, Hernandez and Calves of colluding in the town’s quest to settle the lawsuit. After Gere and Hernandez offered up their site for the tower, Spruance said their plans to expand the hotel, adding 10 guest rooms, a pool and a spa, were suddenly approved in late September. (Calves told The Post Spruance’s “statement is not based on reality or fact.”)
Reps for Gere, 73, did not return a message seeking comment early Tuesday and attempts to reach Hernandez were unsuccessful.
Other A-listers who reside in and around Bedford include Martha Stewart, George Soros, Ralph Lauren, Matt Damon, and celebrity couple Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively. Actors Rooney and Kate Mara were raised in Bedford, and their parents — Chris Mara and Kathleen Rooney Mara — still live there, telling The Post last week that they also object to Gere’s cell tower plans. Jerry Seinfeld’s sister Carolyn Liebling, who manages the comedian’s career, is also a Bedford resident and a vocal opponent of the proposal.
Liebling and four other neighbors filed a motion last month asking to meet with a judge in their attempt to block the proposal.
But Calves said she won’t be swayed by their efforts.
“Just because people who have money and power are threatening legal action, that doesn’t mean that they get more deference than anyone else,” Calves told The Post. “We have to make the right decision for the whole town. This is a matter of public safety and quality of life.”
Jim Hoffman, 63, who has lived on Bedford’s Paddock Lane for 25 years and has joined the motion with Liebling, said the proposed tower will be visible from nearly every room inside his $2.5 million home. He accused the town’s attorneys of cutting off public speakers at Monday’s hearing and then slyly changing their answers.
“It was the most painful thing,” said Hoffman. “You saw a lot of disingenuous manipulation by the planning board. It’s a rubber stamp from the town’s perspective. It’s them trying to get it done with.”
Bedford’s planning board will resume its review of Verizon’s application on Jan. 3, Calves said.