Board sends cell tower proposal to boards for further study

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 1:38pm

The Perinton Town Board Wednesday referred Verizon Wireless’ proposal to build a cell tower at 673 Macedon Center Road to the town’s Planning and Conservation boards for further study.

The cell phone tower would be 150-feet tall and built on land owned by Herb Boyce LLC.

The Town of Perinton will receive no payments for this facility. All rent for the land will be paid to Herb Boyce LLC.

“We are requesting this tower because of demand,” said Verizon attorney Don Cheney. “We have to get towers closer to homes because so many people are using more technology at home.”

Residents brought up many concerns during the public hearing, including health concerns, property value and damaging scenic views.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996, however, preempts challenges to cell towers based on potential health hazards from radio frequency emissions, to the extent that a facility complies with the F.C.C. regulations. It also preempts challenges based on generalized arguments that the proposed tower will lower property values.

Even if the town turns down this plan, Verizon will have the right to erect a tower within ½ mile or ¾ mile of the site.

This application requires site plan approval from the Planning Board as a special use permit is required because the entrance to the proposed site goes through land that is zoned Residential B. The proposed location for the telecommunications facility is in both the CO-Commercial and R-B-Residential B zone. The facility itself is in the CO zone while the access road to the facility is in the R-B zone. Pursuant to Section 208-13 of the Perinton Town Code, a telecommunications facility in the CO & R-B zones, requires a tower special permit from the Town Board.

The proposed complex will be located within a 56 foot x 56 foot leased compound. The compound will be fenced with a 7-foot chain link fence with 1 foot of barbed wire on top, making the fence 8-feet tall. Besides the tower, the facility will include two refrigerator size generators. The tower will also be capable of adding three additional carriers to the tower to hopefully avoid more towers.

The subject property is currently used as a commercial excavation/grading company with a gravel pit on the southeast portion of the property. The site will be screened from view by trees along Macedon Center Road as well as existing trees on the East side. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the tower will not require lighting.

Under New York State law, cellular providers are considered public utilities and qualify for the “public necessity use test.” According to The Empire State Report in 2003, this means that a cellular company applying for a use variance needs only to establish that the proposed cell tower would bridge gaps in currently inadequate service and would result in a minimal burden or intrusion on the community.

Verizon representatives said the tower has been proposed because their license Federal laws require them to provide substantial service to the area. A small rooftop tower installed just more than a year ago in the Industrial Park in Perinton Parkway is not able to take on any more users. Adding the tower there is not possible because the two would interfere with each other. Replacing the small tower with the tall tower will also not solve the user issues, according to Verizon.