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Compromise offered for cell antenna

AT&T has offered a compromise to the Town of Elma that would eliminate the need for a 150-foot cell phone tower at Seneca Street and Jamison Road and no doubt please a lot of neighbors.

The proposal would place an 8-foot antenna on a railing midway up the town water tank. This, according to Tim Connelly of AT&T, would not give the company all the coverage it had wanted but would be sufficient for now. The company wanted to give nearby Moog Inc. additional cell phone coverage.

An engineer has checked the strength of the railings, and they are considered strong enough for the equipment. If the equipment were put on top of the tank, there could be damage, Water Superintendent Gene Stevenson said when asked several months ago about such a placement.

During a meeting in October, neighbors complained about AT&T's proposal to build a free-standing tower nearby, preferring something attached to the tank itself.

The Town of Elma will receive $1,250 a month in a lease agreement with AT&T.

Connelly said the compromise "was better than nothing." He said AT&T will eventually have to have another tower farther north. The company will have to go back to the Planning Board, which has final approval on a special-use permit.

In other action at last week's Town Board meeting:

* Supervisor Michael P. Nolan read a letter from a Springbrook Shores resident Sharon Winkowski regarding a tax break on the patio homes. Planning Board member Fred Strief said that giving no tax break was a big selling point to the town a few years back. Marrano Development agreed to it, and Nolan said the Springbrook residents use fire protection and highways as much as anyone else and will abide by the original agreement with Marrano. A letter of explanation will be sent to Winkowski.

* Elma Senior Citizen Director Vicky DeFoe asked the board for direction regarding bylaws of the Elma Senior Citizens Club. The bylaws call for members to be residents of Elma, she said, but some people move out of the area and still want to join the club, which receives tax money to operate. Nolan suggested grandfathering current members but said the bylaws are very clear and should be followed. The club has 150-plus members.

* Historical Society President Marlene Baumgartner asked the board and anyone else in the community for help moving four or five boulders near the grist mill in Village Green Park so markers could be put up. The society is getting ready for its Christmas display, which is open to the public.

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