COLONIE — A plan to build a 140-foot cell tower on Watervliet Shaker Road was introduced to the Planning Board at its last meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14.
The tower, proposed by Evolution Site Services would be constructed on a 10,000-square-foot parcel on land owned by Bonded Concrete, who is the co-applicant along with Cellco Partnership. It would be home to antennas for Verizon and T-Mobile cellular services.
Chris Cioffi, of Evolution Site Services, said it would be a straight, lattice-style tower that will blend in with existing structures supporting high-tension wires. While those towers stand about 80 feet tall, the ground elevation of where the cell tower is proposed is lowers to the overall height of the cell tower will be lower when compared to the high-tension wire towers.
He said there was a balloon test conducted, which entails floating a balloon to the height of the tower to gauge how visible it will be to neighbors. Cioffi said the results will be ready by the next time it appears before the board.
The tower will be 17-foot across the bottom and 4-foot wide at the top. It will have the capacity to house antennas and other infrastructure for four cellular companies.
The land, part of a 32.6-acre site at 228 Watervliet Shaker Road where Bonded has a concrete making and trucking facility. It is zoned Industrial but will have to go in front of the Zoning Board of Appeals for a special use permit before construction can start.
There were members of the public on hand for the meeting but since it is a sketch plan review they were not allowed to speak or ask questions. It is the first step in the planning process and it will need to come back before the board at least twice more before construction can start.
Planning Board Chairman Peter Stuto warned the audience federal law dictates much of what happens with the siting of cell towers but there are some things the local planning boards can influence such as screening and/or re-locating the tower on the site to minimize the impacts it will have on neighborhoods. The site is east of Bridgewood Lane and west of Grenada Terrace.
“Federal law is pretty strong on this, and it overrules local law in a lot of ways and our hands are in many ways tied,” he said.
The tower and antenna will “provide a safe level of both emergency and non-emergency communication services (in-building and mobile) to the Town of Colonie, including areas along Watervliet Shaker Road, Grenada Terrace, Fairview Avenue, Homewood Avenue, Lincoln Avenue, Addison Street, Franklin Street, Spring Street Road, Bridgewood Lane, Parker Road and 10th Street,” according to the narrative submitted to the board.
“There are many sites around, these neighborhoods are not being served,” Cioffi told the board. “The fact Verizon and Tmoblie are interested in this right off the bat show there is a significant need.”
Once approved the facility will take no more than 10 weeks to build and once operational, it will not be manned and require only periodic, twice a month, visits by technicians.
At the request of Planning Board member Paul Rosano, Cioffi said he would include information on the safety of cell towers the next time the project comes before the board.