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TOWN BOARD ENACTS LAW ON TOWERS

The Town Board Monday enacted a law that will make it more difficult to locate cellular towers in the town.

The unanimous vote came after no one from the public spoke at a hearing on the proposed ordinance.

Although the Town Board cannot keep towers out of Lewiston, two members of the committee assigned to the task of preparing the law said it will help the next time a company tries to locate in the town.

"What we want them to do is come to the town, say 'Hi, we're here, and we want to put a tower up,' " said Frank A. Silvernail, chairman of the Tower Committee.

"We want to get everything out in the open," he said. Silvernail added that he has heard that three or four companies are interested in trying to come into the town through "the back door."

He and others have said that is the way Sprint Spectrum of Rochester came into town. The Town Board finally allowed the Sprint Spectrum to build a 250-foot-high communications tower in April at 2542 Upper Mountain Road after Sprint officials sued the town for refusing to allow the tower at the site.

"How do you camouflage a 250-foot tower," Silvernail asked. He added that "the town wasn't prepared to refute their technical expert."

However, the law adopted Monday states that the applicants have to apply in writing to the Town Board as the first step in the process for erecting a tower.

In addition, the town now will receive revenue from new tower proposals -- $1,500 for the application for the construction of a tower and $500 to co-locate receivers on a tower. In addition, applicants will have to pay a yearly renewal fee of $1,000. The town formerly did not have a fee schedule.

The ordinance adopted Monday is 28 pages long compared with three or four pages for the one it replaces.

Emily B. Latko, a member of the committee, said she thought at least one person would have spoken up at the hearing. "I expected some of the telecommunications representatives here." The committee had been working on the proposal since March. The Town Board had set a six-month moratorium on constructing such towers, and the expiration date for that was Monday.

Supervisor Thomas E. Sharp thanked the volunteers who served on the committee to draft the ordinance. "It really is quite a document. I think it will serve to give us some needed degree of protection."

In another matter, the board added $5,000 to the police budget for 1998.

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