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Colonie denies cell tower application

The Colonie Planning Board denied Verizon Wireless' application to build a 60-foot cell tower at the Loudonville Presbyterian Church in a 7-to-0 decision, with one member abstaining, at a Tuesday, May 25, planning board meeting.

Members cited an encroachment on the historic nature of Loudonville as reasons to deny the site plan.

I believe errors were made along the route of this project, said C.J. O'Rourke, planning board chairmen.

John O'Malley, a Verizon spokesman, said "all options are on the table right now," as far as a lawsuit appealing the decision.

Verizon already filed one suit with the town on Wednesday, May 19, under a Federal Communications Commission guideline that requires action within 150 days of a tower application.

Town Attorney Mike Magguilli has said it is unclear when Verizon completed the application, and the town would be willing to defend the matter in court, but the May 25 decision has likely nullified that case.

Michael Cusack, an attorney with Verizon Wireless, told the planning board the cell tower would be located within a bell tower to be built at Loudonville Presbyterian Church.

The tower architecture would fit architecturally with the church, which he said is part of the area's historic look. He said the tower would be unmanned, with trucks occasionally coming to the site to service it and existing foliage to mask it.

"It's something that will indicate the religious nature of their facility for years to come," Cusack said.

The Rev. Elaine Woroby, who heads the Loudonville Presbyterian Church, said the "attractive" bell tower would be an asset to the community.

"No one looking at it would know that it's a cell tower," she said. "It will simply look like a part of our church."

She said she hopes the controversy has not negatively affected the friendships of the neighbors and area residents.

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