Law would refine cell tower standards in Clifton Park

Clifton Park residents will have an opportunity to comment on a proposed new set of telecommunication laws in Clifton Park during a public hearing next week.

The law would regulate where new cell towers can be built, in addition to dictating the type and amount of equipment a company can store at the cell tower site.

The Town Board and supervisor felt it was time to modernize our code to deal with those changes, said Town Attorney Tom McCarthy.

He said the decision to hold a 60-day moratorium on any new cell tower applications was a "preemptive" measure by the town.

According to McCarthy, no controversial applications have been submitted.

"We want to be proactive," McCarthy said. "Hopefully we are getting ahead of the curve."

The new law would, "require a very thoughtful design process for any sensitive design areas," McCarty said.

He said he hopes the residents are pleased with the new legislation, which will replace the town's telecommunications code from 1998.

"The law would give the board more basis to deny an application that is out of sync," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the aim of the legislation is to standardize town code so all boards that make decisions about the placement of towers can use the same set of laws.

The zoning, planning and town boards all review cell tower applications, according to McCarthy.

One change in the legislation would require a 500-foot buffer between new cell towers and existing structures, according to McCarthy.

He said the change in law would not affect current towers, just new applications.

The regulation is intended to encourage companies to co-locate the cell phone equipment and is designed to allow co-location equipment within 500 feet of existing structures.

McCarthy said the draft clearly describes this part of the ordinance so there is no confusion about the 500-foot buffer as there was in the past, especially with regard to co-location.

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