The Town Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed revision to its towers law at 7 p.m. Monday. Members of the Towers Committee said Lewiston needs to update the law to address cellular telephone towers that have been popping up all over the county.
Emily B. Latko, a member of the committee who has also been outspoken in the town's environmental matters, said the committee has been working on the proposal since March. She added that the revised law is much more comprehensive than the current document -- 28 pages compared to three or four pages for the current one.
In addition, Mrs. Latko said the group followed some of the laws from Erie and Niagara counties in order to be able to formulate their own proposal.
Frank A. Silvernail, chairman of the Towers Committee, said the town needed to update the current law because one company already worked its way around the law. The Town Board decided in April to settle out of court with Sprint Spectrum of Rochester to allow the firm to build a 250-foot high communications tower at 2542 Upper Mountain Road.
The Town Board had turned the company down for the tower at that site, but Sprint decided to sue the board. In addition, Silvernail said the town needed to add restrictions to make the law more beneficial to the town in terms of dollars. The ordinance now sets fees for proposed towers.
The committee had three goals in writing up the proposal, said Silvernail. They include making the companies come to the Town Hall's front door, so that everyone knows a tower is coming.
In addition Silvernail said, "We want to have some say in where these companies are going to locate in the town."
The committee wants to protect areas of historical significance and those with a high aesthetic value, such as Bond Lake and the escarpment, he said.
Further, Silvernail said, "We want to get some money out of them."
The town did not have any set fees to charge the companies before Sprint approached the Town Board.
"We put a lot of effort into it," he said. The Town Board issued a moratorium on constructing any new towers, but that is set to expire on Monday -- the same day that the public hearing will be held. Silvernail said the board will have to either adopt the ordinance or extend the moratorium.