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Lewiston board discusses options for relocating county fire communications tower

LEWISTON – The Town Board this week discussed options for relocating the emergency fire communications tower built by Niagara County on Upper Mountain Road.

“Everything was done illegally according to town codes,” said Supervisor Dennis J. Brochey.

Brochey said the county could have saved $700,000 to $800,000 if it had considered putting their equipment on the frame of an existing Coast Guard tower on nearby property of the New York Power Authority.

Town Attorney Mark C. Davis said, “We’ve reached out to the county. We were talking about another location, as recently as (Oct. 22).” Davis said the Coast Guard has told the county to apply for permission to put their equipment on its tower.

Upper Mountain Road residents have been complaining e about a more than 200-foot tower that went up in their backyards with little warning. The town building inspector issued a stop-work order, which was ignored, and the town has been considering legal action against the county.

The fire tower is part of a series of new towers in the county that will allow for a new communications system for fire and police.

The debate over the placement of the tower has raised anger on both sides, from firefighters who want a new communications system to residents who are concerned about the dangers of a tower in their backyards.

“Our concerns are for the fire departments and the people who live there, but this could have been put somewhere else. Somebody might have missed the ball,” Brochey said. “In my opinion, (the county) knew we were going to shut it down. If they would have gone through the proper channels, there is no way we would have allowed it.” Concerning a lawsuit, he said, “We can’t sit back on this any longer. We really have to do something.”