Press-Republican

Environment

December 14, 2012

APA OKs Essex County communication system

RAY BROOK — The Adirondack Park Agency approved 14 permits Thursday for the new Essex County emergency communication system.

Most of the permits are for upgrades to tall telecommunication towers.

The public-safety radio system was planned and pieced together over the past two years as a series of infrastructure improvements, primarily with updates to existing towers.

REVIEWED IN STAGES

Project design was reviewed by APA staff in an ongoing manner as engineering at each site was completed.

The dovetailed-approach proved efficient — the project met with commissioners’ approval Thursday with less than an hour’s worth of review.

No public comments weighed in either for or against the system upgrade, which will improve both radio-frequency strength and reach throughout the county.

SHARING

APA Staff Planner Lee Walrath took the lead in shepherding the complex project through APA review.

He told commissioners that it replaces a 1950s-era system and shares components between county Emergency Services, State Police and New York State Electric & Gas Co., “so there won’t be a need for three separate systems.”

Co-location, or sharing on towers, is part of the APA tower’s policy.

TOWERS, EQUIPMENT

The project involves construction of one new tower and one new panel reflector, replacement of two towers with taller towers and the lowering of one tower, in Peru, by about 200 feet.

The new tower will be built on Belfry Mountain in Moriah, Walrath said, and current tower structures there will be taken down, so the county can better control who places antennae on that site.

Co-location of new equipment will be accomplished at six sites on private land and on four state land sites: Little Whiteface, Gore Mountain, Black Mountain (in the Town of Dresden) and at the State Police headquarters in Ray Brook.

At Little Whiteface, Essex County Emergency Services will replace existing equipment when the new Ski Patrol building at the top of the Cloudsplitter gondola lift is built.

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