Add Clarence to the list of Western New York communities that have slapped moratoriums on new cellular telecommunications towers until ordinances to deal with them can be adopted.
The Clarence Town Board unanimously declared a 90-day freeze on new and existing applications Wednesday night, despite assurances from the two companies operating in the town that they won't press for approvals until the ordinance is on the books.
Cheektowaga, Amherst, Elma, Grand Island and Aurora are among towns that have taken similar holding actions on fast-growing cellular phone technology is recent months.
James B. Callahan, Clarence's director of community development, said an ordinance should be in the hands of the Town Board within two months. But additional time is needed for the review, publication and public hearing process, officials said.
Clarence has two pending applications for cellular towers -- both from Sprint Spectrum -- on Roll and County roads.
Only three people spoke at Wednesday night's public hearing on the moratorium, two of them both attorneys for telecommunications companies.
Sprint Spectrum attorney Jeffery D. Palumbo said the company's position is that although its applications preceded the moratorium by several months and should be processed, it won't push the issue for 60 days and will work with the town on its ordinance.
Attorney Thomas Greiner said Frontier Cellular is holding off on applications while also working with the town. Greiner questioned the need for a moratorium, with an ordinance so close at hand.
"A moratorium does more to forestall communications between parties than to encourage it," Greiner told the board.
Palumbo was rebuked by Councilwoman Anne L. Case when he said a moratorium wasn't necessary because the town "has the full cooperation of the applicants you're trying to slow down."
"We are not trying to slow you down," Mrs. Case told the lawyer. Technology-wise, "Sprint is moving like a freight train, and I don't think a short time for the Town Board to educate themselves is slowing you down," she said.
Telecommunications technology, especially in satellite and lasers, is "growing by leaps and bounds, even as we speak," she said. "We need the time to understand what's happening out there," Mrs. Case said. "The Town Board isn't here to stand in the way of business and commerce," said Supervisor Paul McCarthy.