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Cochecton raises tower fee schedule

By Linda Drollinger
April 16, 2014

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — A light agenda at its April 9 monthly meeting allowed the Cochecton Town Board to address longstanding concerns about communication and wind towers and to map out spring cleaning and refurbishment programs.

Upper Delaware Council (UDC) liaison Larry Richardson recapped a March 31 presentation to the council that outlined municipality rights and responsibilities regarding communications towers. Richardson stated that no municipality currently has the authority to preclude tower installations, but all have the right to stipulate tower number and placement. He pointed out that most municipalities are of the opinion that they must accede to communication service provider requests for a limited number of tall towers on elevated sites. That is usually the most efficient and cost-effective option for the service provider, but it often results in marred landscapes, obstructed views and some degree of ecological damage.

The UDC claims that the cell towers recently approved for installation in the Damascus Township Delaware River valley are a case in point, maintaining that they also fail to comply with river management guidelines. Richardson enumerated some of the many other options available, such as locating more towers on lower sites and/or attaching them to existing structures. This option could be extended to use existing telephone and electric line poles as well as public and commercial buildings.

Following Richardson’s summary, board members voted unanimously to pass a resolution adjusting the planning board fee schedule for review of communication tower installation requests upward from its current $2,500 to $5,000. Councilmember Anna Story was absent. Richardson also urged the planning board to review current regulations regarding communication and wind-tower installations, with an eye to giving the town more leeway in the approval process.