Verizon cell phone tower update

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 8:48pm

The Town of Perinton Planning Board announced at its meeting Wednesday (July 18) it plans to write a recommendation to the Town Board to approve a Special Use Permit for a proposed Verizon cell tower at 673 Macedon Center Road.

The Planning Board, however, plans to encourage the Town Board to have a proposed access driveway into the property be kept off residentially zoned property. The driveway is currently planned for the East side of the complex, the Planning Board would like to see it moved to the West side.

Verizon is proposing the tower because usage in the area is predicted to overwhelm current towers.

“Verizon studies reveal a 500% increase in data (usage) in the area in the next year,” Verizon Attorney Don Cheney said. “This is similar to building a road before the traffic gets bad.”

Tuesday evening, July 17, the Town of Perinton Conservation Board did not provide a recommendation to the Town Board for the issuance of the permit.

During its meeting, the Conservation Board asked that Verizon and its attorneys provide additional engineering information regarding the geotechnical aspect of the site, and engineering justification of the foundation design. The board also asked the applicant to provide supporting reasons as to why no other alternative will solve the cellular coverage problems. Specifically, the board asked why multiple micro-towers could not have the same desired outcome as one macro tower.

The Conservation Board received all the requested studies Wednesday, July18, except the document explaining why micro-towers would not satisfy the demand. Cheney said he wanted to review that document for his own knowledge before presenting it to the board.

Verizon is proposing a cell tower that would be 150-feet tall and built on land owned by Herb Boyce LLC.

The Conservation Board has concerns about the foundation of the tower, which has residences nearby, because the commercial site was previously filled with trees, brush and other construction and demolition materials. Verizon Project Manager David Weisenreder explained that the tower is 150-feet tall and is situated 144 feet from a residential property and 160 feet from a nearby wetlands. The tower will also be designed with a reinforced base.

 The town also asked Verizon to examine a location at the Department of Public Works complex, but the company said the land was outside the area of need.


Cell tower background


Residents have brought up many concerns, including health impacts, 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.

This application requires approval from the Perinton Town Board through the issuance of a Special Use Permit because the access drive to the tower site is located on land that is zoned Residential. It also will require site plan approval from the Perinton Planning Board. The tower itself is located in the Commercial Zone while the access road to the facility is in the Residential Zone. Pursuant to Section 208-13 of the Zoning Board a telecommunications facility in the CO & R-B zones, requires a tower special permit from the Town Board.

The proposed tower will be located within a 56 foot x 56 foot leased area. This area would be fenced with a 7-foot chain link fence with 1 foot of barbed wire on top, making the fence 8-feet tall. Along with the tower, the facility will also include two refrigerator size generators. The tower will also be capable of adding three additional carriers, which could hopefully avoid the need for additional towers in the immediate area.

The subject property is currently used as a commercial excavation/grading company. 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 Federal laws require them to provide substantial service to the area, which is experiencing coverage gaps. A small rooftop tower installed just more than a year ago in the Industrial Park on Perinton Parkway is approaching its maximum capacity for data usage. Constructing a new tower near or in the Perinton Parkway area is not possible because the two would interfere with each other. Also, replacing the tower installed by T-Mobile opposite Wakeman Road with the taller tower will not solve the user issues, according to Verizon.

If approved, the tower would not be in place for another six months to a year.