Clifton Park hammers out cell tower rules

The Town of Clifton Park is holding on to its proposed telecommunications law revisions for a little longer. The legislation was set to be voted on at a Monday, Sept. 8, meeting, but was taken off the agenda to allow attorneys more time with it.

We thought it was best to dot our I's and cross our T's, said Jude Hazard, town spokesperson. Specifically, the town will be examining details of the SEQR process and consulting with the county planning department.

The new law would make updates to a 1998 communications towers and antennas law, which was also updated in 2000. Town Attorney Tom McCarthy said that the law has been adjusted with consideration of suggestions made by the industry and consultants to create a "streamlined" law that complies with the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.

"All of these provisions that some of the applicants and some of the boards have fought for over the years is now codified in this law," he said.

A 60-day moratorium on new cell tower applications expires on Thursday, Sept. 18, so the town board is likely to either adopt the law or extend the moratorium at its Monday, Sept. 15, meeting.

With increasing cell phone and other wireless usage, the town is reviewing the law to residents with protection against encroaching towers. Provisions for noise regulation, tower location and a focus on co-location " where antennas are built on preexisting structures"were just some of the changes.

Councilman Scott Hughes said the law updates benefit residents at a Tuesday, Sept. 2, public meeting on the legislation.

"It is not an easy subject matter, and I think everyone has come to it with the idea that we will do what's best for the residents of Clifton Park," said Hughes. "This has been done by the book and it is a good law."

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