Press-Republican

Local News

February 23, 2010

Duane tower caught in communication gap

<img src="/homepage/images_image_276103054" alt="&#149;">&nbsp;&nbsp;Verizon had hoped for higher structure in Duane to allow co-location

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DUANE — Adirondack Park Agency staff issued a permit for an 80-foot cell-phone tower in Duane that may not allow emergency officials to comply with international communication regulations.

And it seems to have come without the applicant's final review.

The Duane tower was in motion through APA when Verizon Wireless started looking to accommodate other carriers after a meeting with local officials and APA staff last month.

The officials, including Sen. Betty Little, were pushing for a higher tower due to safety concerns.

VERIZON 'SURPRISED'

"Frankly, we were surprised by the issuance of the permit for the 80-foot tower," Verizon Wireless spokesman John O'Malley said in an e-mail Tuesday.

"Given the recent discussions among the various interested parties and our stated willingness to consider a higher height to improve anticipated coverage and allow for (co-location), we expected additional discussions to take place.

"We learned of the issuance of the permit when the news release came out on Monday."

At the February meeting, APA Acting Deputy Director of Regulatory Programs Holly Kneeshaw told commissioners that news reports saying the Duane tower was on hold were untrue; it had not been formally withdrawn.

A recent meeting with legislators and local officials apparently had not stopped the APA review clock.

The tower has been in design for almost three years.

Verizon Wireless agreed to lease the site at the Duane Volunteer Fire Department station in May 2007.

VERIZON WANTED DELAY

F. Gil Paddock, vice president and second assistant chief of the Fire Company, said the first tower pitched to APA was 120 feet tall.

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