Planners Approve Verizon Antennas in Windfall Corridor | Columbia County
HUDSON – The planning committee approved Verizon’s application for a special use permit to install six antennas at Providence Hall at 119 Columbia St. with a 5-2 vote.
The antennas are clad with lacquered or treated fiberglass structures that look like an extension of the brick building.
The building currently has a 19.6-foot penthouse structure on one side of the roof and a proposed concealed structure will add an additional 10 feet in height according to the site plan. The other end of the roof will have a 10 foot tall cover structure that will be added to the flat roof.
The company must provide the board with a final plan detailing the hidden structure, which must be approved by an architect appointed by the board.
Providence Hall is a private, low-income residential building for the elderly and the disabled owned by Arbor Management.
The public hearing on the motion ended in the ninth month at the board hearing on June 8, after local residents were turned away.
The first submission of the application was published a year earlier on June 9, 2020 on the website of the board and the application was submitted to the city on August 20, 2020.
The board of directors was urged this week to make a decision to avoid a lawsuit by Verizon over state time restrictions on requests for the installation of wireless communication devices.
In the case of applications with several roof antennas with the option of extending the schedule, the so-called shot clock, the municipalities must decide within 90 days if the application is incomplete. The board’s deadline was extended several times over the month of deliberation, with various requests from Verizon for more information, and Verizon declined another extension this month.
The last shot clock for the application ended with the board meeting on June 8th. The board asked Verizon to approve another extension at the meeting so that the board can continue deliberation at its July meeting. Kathy Pomponio, Verizon’s project manager, said she would ask the management consultant to extend the shot watch to the July meeting if the board acts in good faith and completes its month-long public hearing at the June meeting. The hearing closed, but the company ultimately declined to extend it.
The board of directors scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday to consider an ongoing motion from A. Colarusso and Son, but used the meeting to discuss Verizon and make a decision instead, as Federal Communications Commission regulations came under increasing pressure.
“This shot clock has been extended by months,” said board lawyer Victoria Polidoro at the meeting on Tuesday.
At Tuesday’s meeting, board members discussed the company’s potential to sue the city if the board does not come to a decision soon, and Verizon’s attorney Allyson Phillips of Young / Sommer, LLC said Verizon reserves the right to take legal action initiate. She said the board will vote on whether the application complies with the city’s zoning code and enough information has been provided to make a decision.
“The public hearing was extensive,” Phillips said at Tuesday’s meeting. “We have provided all of the requested information which has been confirmed by the planning committee advisor and we believe the time has come for the planning committee to rule on this request, but we reserve the right to pursue any remedies available if a decision is not made . “
After four and a half hours on Tuesday evening of examining the application, refining the resolution and concluding the state environmental review, the board members were not ready to hold a vote and scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday at 5 p.m. to conclude the examination of the resolution and make a decision to meet . Wednesday’s meeting lasted two hours.
The Verizon antenna resolution was passed by 5-2 votes. The five-page resolution contains various conditions, including designating the city as insured for the project and submitting annual reports on compliance with radio frequency emissions.
According to the decision, Polidoro has to approve a deed restriction for the property, which undertakes not to leave any other mobile phone providers on the roof of the building for 20 years. The use of additional carriers must be approved by the board.
Verizon must return all changes to the facility to the board for approval, with the exception of replacing a similar antenna that does not change the service, elevation, or visibility of the facility.
Board chairman Stephen Steim and board members Larry Bowne, Clark Wieman, John Cody and newly appointed board member Eugene Shetsky voted in favor of the resolution. The board members Theresa Joyner and Laura Margolis voted against.
Joyner cited public opposition to the project.
“That’s a great resolution, this is it.” she said during the vote. “But because approving this resolution would mean approving the motion, I can’t do that. I am not a robot. I’m a member of a small church in a small town. ”Joyner said that no one in the public, including those whose cellular service would be improved, had spoken to the board in favor of the project.
“I just can’t go along with this,” she said. “I just can not. And I want the public to know that I am not ignoring your opposition, your strong and longstanding opposition to this project. So i say no. It shouldn’t even have been in our books. We are unique. Let’s stay unique. We don’t have to adapt to the big cities. So what, you have no service when you get here? You can live with it. So no.”
Citing an April 13 board workshop to endorse her voice, Margolis said a specialist in acquiring Verizon locations had labeled alternative locations as inappropriate because they were in residential areas.
“I think everyone has to agree that there can’t be more residential areas than 119 Columbia St.,” said Margolis. “There are disabled and elderly people who live there and in the surrounding area. For this reason I do not agree with this resolution. “
Bowne said although he was dissatisfied with the applicant, the board had done its best on a difficult application.
“This was a very difficult application in many ways,” said Bowne. “And I think I tried to express my dissatisfaction with the candidate, which thankfully is offset by the respect I have for my colleagues on this board. And I think we all did the best we could with a difficult application. “
Bowne particularly praised Joyner’s statement during the vote.
“I really want to commend Theresa for her eloquence and conviction,” he said. “And I think it was nicely said, and I really appreciate having you as a colleague on our board of directors.”
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