COLONIE: High-wattage debate

Lawyers representing Siena College and residents opposed to the installation of four, 90-foot light towers pleaded their cases for the last time before members of Colonie's Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday, June 21.

The board will make its decision Thursday, July 5, on whether or not to grant the college a variance to the town's height restriction of 40 feet.

Last week's meeting ended six months of deliberations between town planners and the college on the four towers that will light the college's new synthetic athletic field constructed in the spring.

It was standing room only, and residents, college officials, engineers and athletes packed into every nook and cranny of the meeting room at Colonie's Public Operations Center.

Bob Sweeney, the attorney representing Siena throughout the proceedings, addressed the 15 letters and memorandums, both in favor and against, that have been entered into the minutes of meetings since December last year.

Siena has spoken about the merits of the new field and how the new lights will have a minimal impact on the surrounding residential neighborhood while helping Siena athletes remain competitive in NCAA Division 1 sports.

The Clough Harbor analysis is a fair and accurate representation of what is out there and what is seen. It is difficult to see and has virtually no impact on the neighborhood, said Sweeney.

Clough Harbour and Associates is the lead engineer on the construction of the field and light towers.

As a result of the last zoning board of appeals meeting in May, the town requested that a cherry picker lift be put up to gauge the height of the proposed towers and the potential impact to the historic neighborhood's vistas.

Residents and Siena have squared off on the results of the test, and both parties submitted more than 100 photos in support of their causes.

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