Colonie adopts new wireless application fees

The Colonie Town Board adopted new application fees for the construction of new wireless towers and modifications to existing towers at a Town Board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 19.

The resolution was adopted with a 4 to 3 vote, after being voted down by the three Republican councilmembers, Tom With, Brian Hogan and Nicole Criscione-Szesnat.

This resolution goes along with a set of resolutions that were also passed with 4 to 3 votes, which enabled the town to modify its special use permits in correlation with wireless telecommunications and alter the facilities regulations in place by adopting a new Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Siting Law on Thursday, Nov. 5.

Prior to the resolutions passing at the Nov. 5 board meeting, Town Attorney Michael Magguilli said the laws would serve to have the town fairly compensated for rent, or usage, of pre-existing cell phone towers set up on town property. The resolutions were drafted after Magguilli said it came to the town's attention that the town has been underpaid for use of town property by the owners of the towers, the wireless telecommunication providers.

Now we're in a position to start getting fair market value and it's our belief that the town was not getting fair market value under the prior administration, Magguilli said on Friday, Nov. 20. "We brought the law in the 21st century."

Magguilli said he did not believe that the town was receiving fair market value for the rents on these towers since about 1998. While the laws are not retroactive, moving forward, Magguilli said he expects the town to be receiving fair market value for the rents.

In the past, the town has also allowed the wireless telecommunication providers to go on to town land and make modifications to the towers to enhance their service and therefore enhance their business, Magguilli said, and the town has not charged them any additional fees for doing so.

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