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Comments loud and clear at Clifton Park cell tower meeting

There was no spotty reception Monday, July 21, during a public hearing on Clifton Park's proposed telecommunication law.

More than 20 residents spoke, many of them focusing on an update of the draft that would encourage co-location of cell equipment.

The proposed regulations, which are rewritten from the town's original law drafted in 1998, encourage companies to place new equipment on existing structures, but some residents said the unknown effects of radiation place them in danger.

The health and safety risks are uncertain, said William Engleman. "The town of Clifton Park and the Water Authority are not required to allow private companies to locate equipment in these areas."

Town Attorney Thomas McCarthy said the new law would give companies an incentive to co-locate.

According to the proposed legislation, up to five pieces of equipment could be located on a single structure. There is no minimum distance for the co-location of equipment.

"We want to minimize the number of people who have to live near a tower," said Supervisor Phil Barrett, who said the law does not permit the town to deny an application based on the potential health risks associated with the radiation emitted from the equipment.

"We have to fight the legal battle with the cards dealt to us," Barrett said, explaining that the town has more reason to deny a new application with the proposed legislation.

Resident Pam Marshall suggested the council consider phasing out the buffer over time.

"It seems like there needs to be a vision to phase out co-location with the buffer," she said.

Not all residents opposed the proposed legislation. The Vics from Clifton Park said they are worried about the lack of reception in the area.

"This is our emergency communications device, and it works perfectly where we winter, but when we come up here to live we get zero bars," said Jesse Vics as he held his phone from the podium.

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